One of my favorite things to do in Adobe Photoshop is just add a hint of color to a black and white photo. It is a lot of fun to do, and it really can enhance a simple photo if you are a beginner in Photoshop. So in this tutorial, I will show you how to do just that. This is extremely simple and you can use basically any photo you like. Sometimes portraits or photos with prominant objects in it work best in this case. One important thing to remember is image quality. I have seen tons of people try to accomplish this technique in a low quality photo, and it just does not work. For this Photoshop tutorial, you can use one of your own photos. If you do not have a photo to work with, you can always go to a free stock image site such as www.sxc.hu. Again, I can not stress this enough: make sure the image is of good quality since you will have to zoom in on the photo when you color it. What is good quality? It is a photo 600×800 pixels or larger.
So with that, after you have chosen your photo, whether you are working with your own or not, you will now need to open the image as a canvas in Photoshop. Always make sure that the original image is saved so you can refer back to if you want to start over or if you do not like what you end up with.
Now to begin…
Step 1) We obviously need to start with a colored image and choose what portion of it you want to keep in color. This portion should be clearly visible, especially when you zoom into the photo. Out of focus objects will just not work!
Step 2) Now you will need to copy the background layer. You easily can do this by just dragging and dropping it to the create a new layer icon on the menu bar.
Step 3) The next step is to convert the top layer to monochrome or black and white. There are several ways to do this, but you can easily just click the CTRL+Shift+U on your keyboard (this is the hotkey). you can also go to Image> Adjustments> Desaturation. You black and white image may not have a perfect contrast, but you can fix this by using the auto contrast tool. Image> Adjustments> Auto Contrast. This is just a simple way to do it.
Step 4) Next, you will now need to add a layer mask to the top black and white layer. Layer> Layer Mask.
Step 5) Zoom into the area you want to color. The zoom tool is located on the vertical menu bar. Select the layer mask you previously created.
Step 6) Select the brush tool and choose black as the foreground color from the dual color box on the vertical menu bar or the color selector. Choose an appropriate brush size and a hardness of 100%. While zoomed in, paint over the area you want colored carefully. Take your time and try not to go over other areas. This is the hardest part and if you mess up you can always click Crtl+Alt+Z to go back a step and redo it.
Then you’re done and you have a fun new image!