Creative black and white editing

I often get asked about editing a photo to black and white but keeping an area in colour which is simpler to do than people think.

To do this technique you need some editing software that allows you to work in layers; eg Photoshop/Photoshop Elements and other similar programmes. To make this really clear I have done a quick video demonstrating it as well as these brief instructions. You can also download this image to have a go with too.

Click on the link below to watch the video.

A link to download the image is in the comments of the video.

Workflow: 1. Open your image in the editing software - if using Elements you need to be in the Expert screen layout to find the tool. 2. Open a Gradient Map adjustment layer which you will see sits above the original colour image. Make sure the gradient map is on a black and white mode. 3. Set your foreground/background colours in the toolbar on the lefthand side to black and white with black as the top square. 4. Making sure that you are clicked on the gradient map layer zoom into the area you want to colour. 5. Open the brush tool and paint to bring the colour back to that area. Paint over the edges to start with and then with the foreground colour to white in the tool bar, zoom in more, reduce the size of the brush and paint back any areas to black and white that need it. Above all take your time on this technique and choose an image with regular shapes to start with. The photo below took me several hours to do! 

You can also do a similar edit on a smartphone using apps such as Color Pop or Colour Splash. Obviously there is less control over the edit here because of the size of the screen but zoom in as much as you can before you start to get the best results.

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All images © Sarah Holmes 2021 No reproduction without prior permission.