Have you noticed your Eyedropper isn’t sampling the exact color or tone on which you’re clicking? Most people never change the Sample Size of the Eyedropper, ever! By default it uses Point Sample, which means a single pixel is sampled. That might be good for a solid-colored design, but if you’re working on photos, that can be a problem. 

If there’s any grain at all in the image, each pixel will be slightly different, meaning you’ll get a different reading every time, unless you’re clicking the exact pixel each time. Choose the Eyedropper tool (I), go up to the Options Bar, and change the Sample Size. A good general setting is 5 by 5 Average, which will take an average of the 25 pixels around the point you click. For more precision on very detailed images, knock it down to 3 by 3 Average. If you’re working on higher-resolution images, you can go larger. This little tweak should help you get more consistency. 

This tip originally published in Colin Smith’s “Photoshop Tips” column in the January, 2023 issue of Photoshop User magazine.