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Top Ways of Coloring Old Black and White Photos in Photoshop

Top Ways of Coloring Old Black and White Photos in Photoshop

Top Ways of Coloring Old Black and White Photos in Photoshop
John Mcdermutt
November 27, 2023
Top Ways of Coloring Old Black and White Photos in Photoshop

One of the great things about Photoshop is that it gives you a ton of control over how you color your photos. 90% of the world’s creative professionals use Adobe Photoshop for different photo editing needs as compared to other editing software out there. If you have an old black and white photo that you want to add some color to, there are a few different ways that you can do it.

At Invensis, we have been offering image editing services for the past 15 years. Our team of skilled image editors is well-versed in a wide range of Photoshop tools and techniques. So, we know that it can be quite challenging to choose the right method for coloring an old black and white photo in Photoshop. That's why we have created this blog. In it, we will show you the top ways of coloring old black and white photos in Photoshop.

How to Color Old Photos in Photoshop?

You need to have extensive knowledge about breathing colors into your black and white photographs. This is something only experts can get done and Invensis has the talent to do so. We will not just transform black and white pictures into colored photographs, but also offer services like photo restoration, 360 degree panorama stitching, real estate photo editing and many more. Coloring old photos is something which Photoshop can also do with the help of machine learning and Adobe Sensei.

You will get the chance to determine the right choice of colors for your image. So, with just a few clicks, you can see the entire procedure of colorization done. Today, this article will provide valuable insights about adding color to your old photos in photoshop. But before we can begin, let us take a quick look at why you would add color to your photos. Let's begin.

Why Add Color to Your Photographs?

Most of us seek realism in all the photographs that we capture. So besides having the requisite light and shadow, colors will make it look more lively. Moreover, colors in pictures elicit an emotional response as people can relate to them more efficiently. So whenever you see anything colorful, it stimulates immediacy. During the 19th century, monochromatic photographs were hand-painted for aesthetic purposes. But the colored photos just looked nicer on the mantle. And that is precisely why contemporary artists continue to do the same. Moreover, adding color to your black and white photographs enhances the elegance it withholds.

Step-by-Step Guide on Adding colors to Old Photos in Photoshop

To use the colorize filter in Photoshop, you will need to have access to the latest version of Photoshop. However, once you have subscribed to it, you are good to go for filling some colors in your old photos. Our experts have created the following step-by-step procedure for doing the same.

Step 1: Open the Image in Photoshop

Firstly you need to open the black and white image you would like to color in Photoshop. It doesn't necessarily have to be entirely black and white. If the image has a sepia tint, that will work fine too.

Step 2: Keep the color Mode of Your Image in RGB

Photoshop's colorize filter efficiently helps in transforming all black and white photos into color. But before you can use the appropriate tools properly, you need to prepare your original image.

To do so you have to do two things, which are:

  • Open your desired image in Photoshop, 
  • Make sure the color mode is set to RGB. 

The colorize filter is compatible with pictures of the RGB color mode. However, since most of the black and white photos are saved in Grayscale mode, you should change it to RGB. You can easily change the color mode from the Image menu of the Menu Bar. Click on the checkmark box next to the RGB color, and you're good to go.

Step 3: Improve the Contrast if Your Image is Faded

The colorized filter of Photoshop works great with high contrast images. But if you are working with low contrast or faded photographs, you will need to fix it. To fix the contrast of your photograph, you have to duplicate the background layer before you can desaturate the image. If the images have tints other than black and white, get them removed. To remove the tints, you need to:

  • Choose Adjustments from the Image menu and then click on the Desaturate option. This will deliberately remove any other color from the image and make it black and white.
  • Opt for the Auto Contrast command to increase the contrast of your image. You will find the option of Auto Contrast from the Image Menu itself.
  •  If you find that certain portions of your image are too dark, you can choose Fade Auto Contrast.
  • You can also reduce the Opacity of the Auto Contrast to have a light effect.

Step 4: Choose Your Desirable Neural Filters

After you have made significant adjustments to the contrast of your image, you're ready to apply the colorize filter. But unfortunately, it belongs to the Neural filters of Photoshop. So before you can color your photos, you need to choose from the Neural Filters. To do so, you have to:

  • Open the Filter menu.
  • Choose the Neural Filters option.
  • Once the Neural Filter workspace opens, you will find the Neural Filter panel on the right.
  • Double click on the Hand Tool from the toolbar when you cannot see the whole image as it will fit the image on your screen automatically.

Step 5: Download the Image and activate colorize in Photoshop

Before you can use the colorize filter, you need to download it. All you need to do is click on the cloud icon beside the colorize filter tab. And then your filter will automatically start downloading. After it has been downloaded, the cloud icon becomes a toggle switch. So you need to select it to make it functional.

Step 6: Implement Focal Points for Editing colors in Selective Areas

After you have selected the colorize filter, numerous options will be displayed along with the Neural Filters panel. At the top, you will find a small preview column for your original photo. Here, you can select different portions of the image and change the color accordingly. Here you will

  • Find the Auto color image right beneath the original image. You have to uncheck this option, if you want to change the colors of your image completely. 
  • You can leave this option checked if you want Photoshop to auto color the image.

Next, you will have to add focal points to add colors to each object at a time. And after adding them, you need to choose the colors you would like to put on your image. Then, since you won't understand the right color for your image, you can close the color picker to check. If you find that your chosen color doesn't look good, you can select another color.

Step 7: Manually Adjust the color Balance and Saturation of the Image

Once you have applied colors by selecting the focal point, you need to adjust the overall color balance. If you feel like warming up the image, you can drag the color adjustment sliders toward Red and Yellow. This will automatically adjust the saturation level and color balance of your image.

Step 8: Reduce Noise or Include color Artefact if Required

Your image might sometimes have blotchy colors around the edges. You can quickly fix this with color Artefact Reduction. And if you find that your image has lots of grains, you can use the Noise Reduction option to soften the image.

Step 9: Compare the Original with the colorized Image

After applying the desired colors to your image, you can compare it with the original version. By clicking on the Show Original iconic on the lower left side, you can check and compare your images.

Step 10: Output Your colorized Image

If the colored version of your image satisfies you, you can choose to output the result. For best results, you can choose to output the New layer.

Why Choose Invensis for coloring Old Photos and Restoring Them?

At Invensis, we promise to deliver world-class photo editing solutions consistently. Our wing of photo editing services provide:

Our experts have extensive knowledge about the latest photo restoring and retouching technologies.

We believe in customer commitment; we provide all photo editing services with diligence and integrity. We promise to give you the best with more than 15 years of knowledge and experience. Besides, our cost-effective services come with guaranteed security and privacy.

To Conclude

That's all, folks! Now that you know how to add color to your black and white photos using Photoshop try it. You need to use the colorized filter with minor touch-ups with the brush tool. Thus you can make your old photos look attractive with Neural Filter and Photoshop brushes.

Make sure you choose the accurate selection tool and the right colors. You can only color your black and white photos and make them look great.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to restore and color correct old photographs in Photoshop?

You need to import your original photo in Photoshop and create a new layer. After that make all the necessary changes to the image colors with a color correction tool. 

2. Is it possible to remove yellow stains from my old photographs?

Yes, it is possible. You can use the Auto Tone option in Photoshop and altogether remove it.

3. Why do old photographs become red or yellowish over time?

Photographs were printed on poor quality photo papers. When you flip through them, they are exposed harmful UV rays and the fluctuating temperature degrades the negative/positive dye.

4. Can I improve the image quality while coloring my old photographs in Photoshop?

Yes, you indeed can. All you need to do is open the image you want to enhance. After that, you need to choose the image size and deselect the resample.

5. Which is the best image resolution in Photoshop?

The globally accepted resolution value in Photoshop is 300dpi. So when you print a photograph in this resolution, it will automatically squeeze the pixels closely. 



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