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

Written by valerie clark
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How to put color back in a black and white picture in Photoshop
Adding a splash of colour to a black-and-white photo can create an eye-catching look. (Photo by Chris Hurtado, colour manipulation by Valerie Clark)

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.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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."

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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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