Photoshop Tutorial: Gorgeous Tinted Photos: Add a Splash of Color to a Black & White Photo

Tinted black and white photos (i.e. black and white photography with zones of color) has become very popular particularly for professional portraiture. It gave give either a vintage feel or a cool modern look to a photo, depending on both the photo composition and the technique you use.

You can achieve the same look for your personal or professional photos in just a few easy steps in Photoshop!

Method 1:

Above is a video tutorial by ShadowTutorials that succinctly describes the steps needed. For those who don’t like to watch vidoes, here is the basic process:

1. Open a photo.
2. Make sure the photo is no longer part of the background but on a layer of its own.
3. Use the magnetic lasso tool to select the parts of the photo you would like to colorize. To make multiple selections, hold down on the ‘Shift’ key.
4. Right click and feather the selection by 2 or 3 pixels — just enough to remove any sharp edges.
5. Create a copy of the layer.
6. Go back to the original layer. Go to the menu at the top and choose Image > Adjustment > Black and White.
7. Use the eraser tool at 10-20% opacity to clean up anything on the top color layer that looks jagged.
8. If the color looks to intense for you, choose the top color layer and then reduce the opacity to 50% or another percentage until you achieve the amount of color you like.

You should now see two layers visible: the one with your colored bits and an underlying black and white layer.

Method 2:

An alternate method (some people find this easier):

1. Open a photo.
2. Make sure the photo is no longer part of the background but on a layer of its own.1. Copy the photo layer. (Ctrl+J)
3. Convert the bottom layer to black and white by going to the menu and choosing Image > Adjustment > Black and White.
4. On the top layer, use the eraser to erase any parts you don’t want to be black and white. Use 100% to completely erase it. Or, change the opacity of the eraser to 50% or less if you want less saturated color or varying degrees of color.

Method 3:

OK, still not what you want? The video below shows a completely different method.  In this case, you will be adding new color versus using color from the original photo.
In a nutshell…
1. Open a photo and make sure it’s not in the background but on a layer of its own.
2. If it is not already a black and white photo, go to the menu and choose Image > Adjustment > Black and White.  Note: You may want to adjust the color levels to increase the contrast of the photo for a crisper finished product.
3. Create a new empty layer.
4. Take your paint brush and paint on a color you like in full intensity (e.g. bright red for lips).
5. Change the opacity of the layer to 20% or less–to your liking–so that it barely tints the photo.
6. Repeat this process for each element on the photo that you want to re-colorize.

I hope you found a few ideas you can use to add an interesting touch to your vintage family photos or to new photos that you want to have a vintage feel. (This is an excellent idea for scrapbooked photos as well!)

Feel free to comment below if you have any other suggestions.

Author: andolaurina

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