Color Black and White Photos

Color Black and White Photos – 4 Methods to Get a Stunning Result You Should Know

Whether you need to restore an old image, or just need to create a visual impact, adding colors to a black and white photo is not an easy task. What should be the best methods to color black and white photos? If you want to get the detailed processes, here is the information you should know from the article.

Of course, Photoshop is the one of the most professional methods to turn a boring black and white photo into vibrant colored ones. What else’s? When you need to learn more about the other methods to colorize the black and white photos, you can find the answer from the article now.

Color Black and White Photos

Part 1: How to Colorize a Black and White Photo via Photoshop

Photoshop is the professional method to colorize black & white photo. In order to make the photo special, you have to paint one part of the image to create a focal point. Compared to the simple solutions to add color to a black and white photo within one click. It should be very complicated process for you to make the B&W photo colorful.

Find the RGB Channel for A Black and White Photo

Step 1: Launch Photoshop and import the photo you want to colorize. Once you import the photo, you should know a black and white image with a good range of values from darkest black to pure white.

Step 2: Go to “Image” > “Mode”, and then select the “RGB Color” option. You can use the most vibrant colors in the part. Then select the area of B&W that you would like to colorize.

Step 3: Double click the “Quick Mask” button to apply color mask to the B&W photos. Under Color Indicates, you can choose the Selected Areas. And then press the “OK” button.

Photoshop Quick Mask

Add Color to the Black and White Photo

Step 4: Choose the “Paintbrush” button on the toolbar. You can paint over the area that you want to add color to the black and white photo. Just be patient to draw the color to the B&W photos.

Step 5: At the time, you still not really coloring the photos, you have to choose the Quick Mask again to turn to the Normal mode, and then you can find the area that you just fill-in with color that you have selected.

Step 6: Click the “Layer” > “New Adjustment Layer” > “Color Balance”. And then finally add some color to your selection. Once click on the first dialog box, and the following color slider will appear.

Step 7: There are other areas that you want to colorize, just repeat the previous steps again on a new section. You can add different colors to the B&W photo.

Color Balance Photoshop

Part 2: How to Color a Black and White Photo with GIMP

Apple has some integrated photo editor on Mac OS X. However, Photos and Preview are not able to colorize black and white photos. Instead, GIMP is the free and open source photo editor, which you can color a black and white photo with ease. Just learn more details as below.

Step 1: Open GIMP on your computer, go to “File” > “Open” to load the black and white image. Navigate to “Image” > “Mode” and switch to RGB mode. Locate to Layers window and add a layer to each color.

Step 2: Locate to the Layers panel and switch to “Multiply” mode. Open color palette and select a color for the first layer. Click on the “Add New Layer” icon in Layers panel and fill the layer with foreground color.

Then add other desired color layers repeat the step above.

Step 3: Select each layer, go to “Layer” > “Mast” and choose “Add Layer Mask” to add mask on each color layer. Fill with White color and set the transparency of layer mask to 30%.

Step 4: Draw on the color extends beyond the area using “PaintBrush” tool carefully. Set the color of PaintBrush to white and opacity to 100%. Repeat this step to remove unwanted area on each color layer.

Step 5: Finally, click on “Save As” in the “File” menu to save the colorized black and white photos, you can also export the result as a commonly used image format.

Colorize Photo GIMP

Part 3: How to Make a Black and White Photo Color Effect Online

If you prefer to use online utilities, Colorize Photo will be a good alternative tool to make your black and white photo colorful. Unlike desktop photo editors, this online photo editor allows you to draw color on a black and white photo directly.

Step 1: Visit in your browser and click on the “Launch Web App” button on home page to open the editing page.

Step 2: Click the “Open” button at upper left corner and upload the black and white photo you want to colorize from local hard drive.

Step 3: Locate to right panel and click on the camera icon to upload a colorful picture that contains the colors you want to add on the black and white photo.

Step 4: Click on a desired color on the color picture and then draw on an area of the black and white photo. Repeat the step above to make other areas color effect.

Step 5: You can click on the “Save” button on top ribbon to download the output to your computer.

Colorizephoto Online

Part 4: How to Apply Color to Black and White Pictures on Smartphone

If you do not need to colorize the details of a black and white photo, Photo Splash FX is the desired color splash app to remove and change colors of photos. When you need to create a visual impact effect, you can take it into consideration.

Step 1: Launch Photo Splash FX on your smartphone and open the black and white photo from Camera Roll or Photo Gallery.

Step 2: Tap on “Colorize” on the menu bar to open the editor screen, which enables you to apply color to a black and white photo.

Step 3: On editor screen, tap on “Color Bar” and choose a color from the color palette. Then you can paint the color on desire area. If you want to paint on small area, you can adjust the “Brush” tool.

Step 4: Follow the similar process to colorize other areas. You can tap on the “Back” option to back to interface. Tap on “Save/Share” to confirm changes.

Color Splash Screenshot

Part 5: Tips About Colorize Black and White Photos

It should be a difficult process to colorize the black and white photos if you need to optimize the details. You should have some tests to robust the photo. Just as mentioned, the professional solution changing the Color Balance sliders for each area again and again. You should pay special attention to the color differences. It requires to keep tweaking the sliders until you get the balance you’re looking for.

Another important tip you should remember is saving the original photo before you begin. When you add color to a black and white photo, save every selection and save your project after you colorize each section. If you have messed up somewhere down the line, it’s a real pain to go back and re-do past sections of the photo.


When you want to add color to a black and white photo, you can find the simple solutions as well as the professional one. The simple solution only adds one tone color to the photo, or simply applies the color for the whole part instead of the details. If you want to colorize the B&W photo with different colors, the one with Photoshop should be taken into consideration.