Colorize Black & White Photos

by David Hillard

Q: I want to start colorizing some old photos using PE8 for Mac. Is there an easy way to do it? I'm a complete novice at this. Thanks in advance.

A: Thank you for the question David.

I'm happy to report that you can colorize black and white photos quite easily with Photoshop Elements. Just follow these steps:

Step1-Create a new Layer.
Create a new Layer in the Layers panel by clicking on the Create A New Layer icon. It's the little square icon with the curled corner. A new Layer called Layer 1 will appear in the Layers panel.

At the top of the Layer's panel is a drop-down menu that is set to Normal by default. Click on it and choose Color to set the blend mode from Normal to Color.

Step2-Make sure you're in RGB color mode.
You must be in RGB mode to colorize your photo. Go up to the Menu bar and choose Image>Mode…>RGB Color.

Step3-Set Foreground Color.
Load the color you want to paint with by double-clicking on the Foreground Color icon.

It's the big square at the bottom of the Toolbox. After you double-click on it the Color Picker dialog box will open and you can click around in there until you get the color you want to paint with.

In the photo you sent with your question, let's say you want to paint the sky blue. Click on the multi-colored vertical bar in the blue area.

If that blue isn't quite right you can use the slider on either side of the bar to choose a different color.

You can also click on the little circle inside the big color square on the left side of the Color Picker box. The circle indicates the current color. To change it just click and drag the circle to where you want it. When you find the color you like click OK. The Color Picker will close and it will be your new Foreground Color.

You have another option for selecting any color you see on the web which is explained here: sample colors with Photoshop Elements.

Step4-Paint on the new Layer.
Now all you have to do is select the Brush tool from the toolbox and start painting over the area you want that color to be.

If you want to change colors, repeat Step3.

That's all there is to it. Good luck with your project David. Post a new comment here to let us know how it worked for you or if you have any more questions on how to do this.

Until next time,

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