How to put color back in a black and white picture in Photoshop

Updated July 19, 2017

Black-and-white photographs and artwork are growing in popularity as a way to add uniqueness and drama to a layout. But sometimes an even more interesting option is to turn a photo black and white, then add a splash of colour back into it. It's a simple process in Photoshop that just about anybody with any knowledge of the program can do.

Open up your layers window under "Window" at the top of your screen. You'll see a small circle at the bottom of the window, shaded half black and half white. Click on it, and select "Hue/Saturation" from the menu that comes up.

Move the "Saturation" slider, located in the middle, all the way to the left. This will take all the colour out of your picture. Click "OK."

Select the paintbrush tool from your toolbar. You can change the size and softness of this tool in options on the horizontal navigator at the top of your screen.

Look at the bottom of your toolbar, where there's a black box and a white box. Make sure the box on top is black and the one on the bottom is white.

Start painting over the item you want to return to colour with the paintbrush tool. For smaller, more defined areas, shrink the size of your paintbrush head.

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About the Author

Valerie Clark is the managing editor of Cascades East recreation and adventure magazine in Bend, Oregon, and previously worked as a newspaper reporter and copy editor in South Carolina and Mississippi. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2002 with a degree in print journalism.