How To Colorize a Black and White Photo in Photoshop

I spent some time the other day experimenting with colorizing a black and white photograph. The image I worked on is a photo of my Grandad during WW2. The original has that washed out sepia look to it, as you would expect from a snapshot from the 1940s. But after scanning and processing it in Photoshop, it’s brought to life in full colour and much better contrast, which really helps you imagine the scene for real.

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39 responses to “How To Colorize a Black and White Photo in Photoshop”

  1. TheHaydock91 Avatar

    Brilliant tutorial, one of the better ones out there as you explain things really clearly πŸ™‚

  2. SassmanGaming Avatar

    Really good video, I really do mean it but the part when you say to fill the layer mask with black and then don't show and/or explain how to do it. Now that I've taken the time to look it up, I see now it's just a command you can do (still rather new to all of this so partially my fault)but still a little frustrating. I'm sure doing the command is probably more of a habit for you and it just slipped your mind. Just kinda weird how detailed this whole video was except this minor detail which held me up for a good 30 minutes. Anyway, sorry if this came off snarky or anything but just thought it'd be a good heads up.

  3. Rowbance Avatar

    Nice job m8 ! Very well explained. It's less complicated then i thought it would be πŸ™‚

  4. hemetas Avatar

    hard to understand, too fast……sorry

  5. Lily Iwani Avatar

    at 2.16 how did you change the layer mask to black?

  6. Paul Mitchell Avatar

    Hey I have to say thank you so much for this tutorial. I watched it a few times and picked up on it very quickly. For examples of what I have done in just a couple of weeks take a look at my flickr page.

  7. Schorchy Avatar

    How did you switch the color in the color fill box to black im having trouble

  8. Chknise Avatar

    dam bro! this is a great topic. I only used this feature in the past to turn individuals into the hulk, but this takes it to another level. Subscribed!

  9. Nate Gaming Avatar

    still waiting in the logo on Adobe illustrator !!!

  10. ScubbaCarita Avatar

    Chris… your tutorials are the best in the entire internet… gosh.. so great.
    Thank you so much.

  11. Graphic Unlocked Avatar

    great tutorial, my grandma was so happy when i showed her family portrait colorized

  12. Noah Weaver Avatar

    you are absolutely brilliant!

  13. MultiSciGeek Avatar

    This is actually pretty amazing

  14. Ryan Tiago Avatar

    Great Job! Thanks for sharing!
    I liked your wallpaper too! πŸ˜› But I couldn't find it on a google image search πŸ™

  15. Joke sparrow Avatar

    for me its pretty difficult, but i'll try it

  16. OLALA DAVID Avatar

    You look like your granddad ……..COPY

  17. TrueMagix Avatar

    Now watch the holocaust!

  18. runningheadcom Avatar

    Good job Chris, very inspiring!

  19. Eco Graphics Avatar

    Did you watch the video on colorized black and white photos from Vox?

  20. Sabir Ali Avatar

    very useful tutorial to colorize old black and white pic i will try thanks Chris for sharing amazing ideas and tricks

  21. Artyom Ivchatov Avatar

    you make it look so easy

  22. Evian622 Avatar

    You look like your granddad!

  23. Luciano Moreira Avatar

    Sensacional. Obrigado.

  24. Angel A. Acevedo Avatar

    Nice! will try this with some of my great grand-dads WWI photos.

  25. Diego Avatar

    great video man!!

  26. Jason Smith Avatar

    Fast and easy to do, great

  27. Syed Shazli Avatar

    Great work Chris. Can you make a tutorial with advanced tips on using liquify filter? How can we make an obese person slim or any other subject of your choice?
    I hope you'll be able to provide a tutorial on this.
    I'm reading your awesome tutorials since 2010 and I can tell you that you've helped me a lot in achieving my goals as a graphic designer. Thanks

  28. Philipp Hofheinz Avatar

    Great work! Thank you very much for these!

  29. Dylan Vargas Avatar

    i feel like there were some elements missing from this. as a whole, it was a spectacular introduction video to colourizing and making the image stylized, but i feel as if to actually colourize, it might be beneficial to mess with the hue, saturation, and tones of each layer of colour rather than just the whole image. laying a colour over the whole image might assist in determining the tone of the image, but it can eliminate your original interpretation of the colours when looking at this photo with only face value. this is an opinionated approach but i feel as if a more "trial-and-error" approach would be better.

    your videos are very precise and very informative on new methods in each program and i absolutely adore them for this reason. for example, i didn't know about the dust and scratches removal, because photoshop doesn't label it as removal or add, but only dust and scratches. i was just writing to inform you that as face value with this channel, i don't see tutorials on how to do each, but rather applicable methods for each program.

  30. Matthias S. Avatar

    This can't be a coincidence that the YouTubechannel "Vox" uploaded a Video called "How obsessive artists colorize old photos", about exactly this topic, today. ^^
    P.S.: It is really interesting, so you should pass by and watch it πŸ˜‰

  31. hime alice Avatar

    thank you very much!!!

  32. Pandy Payne Avatar

    But how do you actually know which colour to colourize a specific object with… or you just guess.

  33. Nurb 2Kea Avatar

    I would use gradient map layers to match the high, mid and shadow tones. Sample the gradient colors from a newer images skin tones, apply and use a mask. The same for the clothes etc. Lot less layers to use. Also you can dodge and burn afterwards. Maybe use two different gradient map layers.

  34. Alise Gabriela Avatar

    this seriously blows my mind

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