Colourizing Black and White Photos

Deep into the 19th century and even after the invention of coloured photography, monochrome images were still been produced by photographers in large quantities. The popularity of these image style (black and white photographs), stemmed from its perceived durability when compared to the coloured photographs of that time and till date, black and white pictures are still used to provide different effects which can be pleasing to the eyes.

Sometimes, the need to colourize monochrome photographs due to aesthetic reasons or just for fun may arise and in today’s modern digital society, there are different software such as Black magic, Photoshop etc. that can be used to achieve this. This article provides you with two practical techniques which can be utilized when using Photo shop to achieve photo restoration and we named these techniques; the Lasso technique and the Brushing technique.

Step 1:

Pick a scanned black and white picture (as your initial practice surface) with little fine multicoloured details and ensure the photograph is di-saturated and placed in the RGB colour space (by navigating to image~Mode~RGB colour).

Step 2:

Create an empty layer/surface on top your initial picture and then select the Lasso tool (by pressing the L key and selecting the highlighted tool) which lets you draw shapes that would be selected to be filled up with your chosen colours.

Step 3:

The next step in this photo restoration tutorial is editing the shapes you drew with the Lasso tool. Navigate to image–Adjustments–Hue and click on the colour box to preview your selected hue (you can also adjust the hue using the scale provided to your own taste) and then apply it to the selected areas.

Above is the first method that can be applied using Photo shop to edit a photograph.

The second technique which is called the “Brushing technique” involves:
Step 1:

After choosing your picture that needs photo restoration, repeat step 1 from the Lasso technique to create a new layer by clicking on the new layer icon.

Step 2:

Navigate with your mouse to Select–Inverse to pick the inverted picture surface, highlight or ensure the new layer is highlighted and then select the brush tool (click on B key and select the highlighted image).

Step 3:

Select the foreground colour located at the under the tools section, select your chosen colour, click and drag onto the new layer to paint its surface according to your needs.

Step 4:

To avoid spoiling the texture of the original layer, you change the new layer blending mode to Overlay. This let’s you see the texture of the original layer while monitoring the texture of your hue.

Step 5:

Continue selecting areas/surfaces that need painting and use your brush tool to apply the appropriate colours to these surfaces to achieve your required look.


To scroll round a picture, zoom in and out, and view your work from different angles, hold the ctrl key and use the plus or minus keys for rotation. If you couldn’t achieve the standard you require, outsourcing your images for editing to a professional service provider is recommended.

Article is Provided by SmartPhotoEditors 

Article publié pour la première fois le 20/09/2012