How to Tutorial: Splash of Color to Black and White Photography

Adding splashes of color to black and white photography is easy, if you have the proper tools, such as Photoshop by Adobe.  I am going to provide a step by step guide here to share how to do this easily, helping you take your wedding photos to a whole new level, saving you money.

In a previous post Photoshop your way to artistic photography, I offered a step by step procedure to tweaking with photography, whether it is adding color saturation, making color pics to black and white, playing with contrast and brightness, and how to play with filters to turn your photos into images that look like they were hand painted, sketched, etc.

**Special note: Please always make duplicate copies of your original photography, for if you work on a photo and save it, without saving as a copy, you will not be able to revert back to the original photo, you are stuck with your altered photo.

**Another note: To add color splash to your photos, for this piece, you have to start with a color photo.  If your photographer hands over the rights to your images, any of the black and white pics given cannot be altered to the color state.  Other tutorials exist out there to add color to your photography by a "painting" method.  I prefer this method below, it is easier to use.

I am going to use the same rosebud pic, as used in the previous post.  In the toolbar go to "File", select "Open" to find your image.  Once you have your photo up, now go to "Image", scroll down to "Adjustments", in the second column scroll down to "Desaturate", and select this.  It will remove any color, leaving your image black and white.  As seen below:


Now, you have a black and white image.  On the left hand side of your screen you have a vertical tool bar.  You need to look for the "History Brush Tool".  The history brush tool is for remembering the color of your photo.  This is why you want to chose "Desaturate", opposed to "Black and White", because with "Black and White", the "History Brush Tool" will not remember the color history.  

Below shows where the "History Brush Tool" is located:


The history brush tool should be under the "Clone Stamp Tool", and above the "Eraser Tool".

Now, before the next step, adjusting the size of your brush will help you to add the coloring.  Under the main toolbar, you will see a new toolbar is now present, and here you can adjust the size of your brush, as seen here:


You can scroll up and down to view various brush options, and adjust the size with the slides at the top of the new popup. Also select your "Hardness" to be 100%, which is located under the "Size" slide.  To the right of the brush sizes in the toolbar you see "Mode", click on the scroll down menu to find "normal" and select this.  Once you select your size, its time to color!


Place your cursor/mouse over the area of your photo you wish to add color.  Start with small movements to familiarize yourself with what is taking place.  Try the bigger brush sizes for large areas, and smaller brush sizes for fine tuning edges.  Also, working in small strokes, especially with the smaller sizes, if you go over the area, and the color is "outside" the lines, you can quickly undo to take away the little mistakes.  If you've gone for a while filling in color and a tiny bit went over the line, selecting undo will wipe away everything you did.  You'll get the hang of it, this will take a little bit of time to get used to this technique.

In the end your image should resemble a black and white photo, with a single colored item:


One of my favorite wedding pics I did this technique to is displayed below, with my bridesmaid, and our bouquets:


Have fun with this technique, and surprise yourself with what you can do to tweak your pics! People whom will see your photos will not know the difference that your photog did this, or you did-and won't they be impressed that you actually did the color splashes to your wedding photos! 

I hope this tutorial is easy to follow, and you enjoy creating artistic photography! 

Happy planning!