How to Color Black-and-White Photographs in Photoshop


If you have some old, black-and-white family photos, try turning them into color images in Photoshop Elements. The colors will inject vibrancy into the images and give them a different kind of look. But no matter how the images turn out, one thing is for sure-your pet project will get everyone in the family talking.

  • Scan a black-and-white portrait shot (e.g. a black-and-white passport photo) and save it on your computer.
  • Select [File]-[Open] from the menu bar. When the Open dialog box appears, look for the drive where you saved the scanned image and open it.
  • Select [Image]-[Mode]-[RGB Color] from the menu bar. The RGB color mode is indicated on the title bar.
  • Select the Selection Brush Tool from the toolbox.

How to Color Black and White Photographs in Photoshop Black and White in Photoshop

  • In the options bar, set the brush size to 27 pixels, the mode to Selection, and the hardness to 0%.
  • Click/drag the tool over the model’s skin to select it. To make precise selections, you may need to change the brush size as you work. When selecting a small area, for instance, use a smaller brush size
  • Select [Select]-[Save Selection] from the menu bar. The save selection dialog box appears.
  • Enter the name Skin for the selection. Click OK. Use [Select]-[Save Selection] from the menu bar to save selections.
  • Press [Ctrl]+[u] or select [Enhance]-[Adjust Color]-[Hue/Saturation] from the menu bar. The Hue and Saturation dialog box appears.
  • Check Colorize option. Set Hue to 10, Saturation to 21, and Lightness to 4.
  • Click OK. Press [Ctrl]+[D] to deselect. This applies a flesh-tone to the woman’s skin.
  • Select the Selection Brush Tool from the toolbox. Click and drag over the woman’s hair to select it.
  • Select [Select]-[Save Selection] from the menu bar. Name the selection as Hair in the Save Selection dialog box. Click OK.
  • Press [Ctrl]+[u] or select [Enhance]-[Adjust Color]-[Hue/Saturation] from the menu bar. Check the Colorize option, and set Hue to 23 and Saturation to 30 in the Hue and Saturation dialog box. Click OK. Press [Ctrl] +[D] to deselect.
  • Select the Zoom Tool from the toolbox. Click/drag the tool over the model’s face to magnify it.
  • Select the Selection Brush Tool from the toolbox. In the options bar, set the brush size to 9 pixels. Click/drag the tool over the right pupil to select it.
  • Press [Ctrl]+[u] or select [Enhance]-[Adjust Color]-[Hue/Saturation] from the menu bar. In the Hue and Saturation dialog box, check the Colorize option and set Hue to 260, Saturation to 25, and Lightness to -15. Click OK. Press [Ctrl]+[D] to deselect.
  • Select the Selection Brush Tool and set the brush size to 27 pixels in the options bar.
  • Select the woman’s cheeks.
  • Open the Hue and Saturation dialog box. Check the Colorize option and set Hue to 0, Saturation to 25, and Lightness to 0. Click OK and deselect the cheeks. This adds color to the woman’s cheeks.
  • As in the preceding steps, use a selection brush of 9 pixels in size to select the lips.
  • Open the Hue and Saturation dialog box. Check the Colorize option and set Hue to 0, Saturation to 25, and Lightness to 0. Click OK and deselect the lips. This changes the color of the woman’s lips.
  • Select the Burn Tool from the toolbox. In the options bar, set Size to 2 pixels, Range to Midtones, and Exposure to 30%.
  • Click/drag the tool over the woman’s eyebrows and eyelids to sharpen the features. Although you can correct the image with the Exposure set to 100%. this can over-enhance the effect you want to create. It is more effective to use a lower Exposure of 20% to 30% and then apply it several times to achieve the effect
  • Select [View]-[Actual Pixels] from the menu bar. This displays the colored image in its actual size.
  • Select the Selection Brush Tool and set the brush size to 9 pixels in the options bar. Select the rose petals and open the Hue and Saturation dialog box. Check the Colorize option, and set Hue to 35, Saturation to 18, and Lightness to 7 to change the color. Click OK. Press [Ctrl]+[D] to deselect.
  • Next, select the leaves and open the Hue and Saturation dialog box. Check the Colorize option and set the Hue to 150, Saturation to 15, and Lightness to -15 to change the color of the leaves.
  • Select [Enhance]-[Adjust Brightness/Contrast]-[Brightness/Contrast] from the menu bar. In the Brightness/Contrast dialog box, set the Brightness to 15 and Contrast to 10. Click OK. This changes the contrast of the image. To preserve the selection borders you have made, you should save images in Photoshop’s PSD file format. If an image is saved in another format, you could lose the selection borders.
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About the Author: Justin Belden is a freelance web & graphic designer with over 15 years' experience. He is also an Avid member of the Design/Development community and a Serial Blogger who loves to help people by sharing interesting and informative tips and trick related to computer and technology.

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