How to Color Black and White Pictures using Photoshop in 10 Easy Steps

Suppose you have a Black & White picture and wish to add a dash of color to gray, there would be no need for you to run to the nearest studio. Instead, you can just use Adobe Photoshop right from home! It is simple enough to be carried out in 10 easy steps that I will demonstrate right now

Let’s say this picture is my B&W sample to be colored using Photoshop:


Here is how to go about the process:

Step 1: Right click on the picture in question and Open With Adobe Photoshop.


Step 2: Double click on Background in the Layers tab and make Layer 0.


Step 3: Now right click on layer 0 and select “Duplicate Layer”. This step is optional but I always prefer it as a precaution in case there is a need to go back to the original.


Step 4: Use the Polygonal lasso tool (circled in red in the picture below) to slowly and carefully select the area you wish to color.


Step 5: Once you have made your selection, click on Select from the menu bar and choose Feather. The box shown below appears. This option feathers the edges of your selection so that the color that you fill in does not look too artificial. Usually, 2 pixels works fine by me!


Step 6: Then go to Image -> Adjustments -> Colour Balance as shown in the picture. below A dialogue box controlling color levels appears. Keep shifting around the color balance till you get the color of your choice by changing the Midtones, Shadows and Highlights. Just in case you have different selections that need the same shade of color, I’d advise you to note the RGB color levels and just input these in the boxes each time. This will spare you from having to tweak around each time to get that perfect match!


Step 7: Once you’ve got the color you want, right click on the selection and choose “Deselect” from the pop down menu that appears.


Step 8: Use the Polygonal lasso tool again to select another portion of the picture that you want to color and repeat steps 5 through 7.


Step 9: When the entire picture has been colored (below) compare this with the original B&W picture. You can do this by making only Layer 0 visible (and not Layer 0 copy).


Step 10. Now that you are satisfied with your work, delete Layer 0 and save your new image with a .jpg extension (not the default .psd extension) by clicking on File -> Save As…

Here is the final colored image:


And this was the colored picture that I had taken using my Nokia 5220 camera (I had converted it to B&W using Picasa for the purpose of this tutorial):


They both look pretty similar right? Looks like a job well done!

You can use this simple coloring technique to create stylish color accented pictures or even color drawings and sketches. Enjoy!

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Shohini Sengupta

A very enthusiastic Writer, Blogger, Pianist, Vocalist and newbie Graphics artist, I love doodling pen and ink sketches and designing banners and CD covers. I am also a Biotech student and enjoy writing articles on new and exciting topics that catch my fancy between college and exams. :) My Twitter handle: @ShohiniBird