Black & White Photos With Colour Elements

I personally am a big fan of black and white photos with certain objects remaining in colour. Especially when it’s a person’s eyes. (I’m a big supporter of eyes) This process is really not as hard to do than you think. Photoshop makes it quite easy.

You want to find an image that something in it that would certainly pop out if it was in colour and the rest black and white. I decided with this pic. I’m mainly going to focus on the strawberry because of it’s vivid red colour. If you don’t have a photo, click on mine and use it for this tutorial.

Step 1

As always when you are working with a photo, you never want to make any kind of changes to the original, so before we do anything else, we need to "Duplicate" the image. Use the shortcut, CTRL+J (win) / COMMAND+J (mac) to duplicate the image and place it on it’s very own layer.

Now that we have our "Duplicate" image, we can get to work making it look good. Select the strong>"Layer 1 Copy", which it is our "Duplicate".

Image > Adjustments > Desaturate

When you "Desaturate" an image, you aren’t changing it to black and white, but just taking all of the colour out of it, still leaving it RGB.

I want to add a bit of contrast to the photo. To do this, I’m going to use the "Levels" adjustment. Use the shortcut CTRL+L (win) / COMMAND+L (mac) to bring up the dialog box. Here are the settings
that I used but feel free to adjust the sliders as you please.

Step 2

Now we are going to take the strawberry and make it colour. We need to make the strawberry a selection. I’m going to use a "Quick Mask" to make my selection. If you don’t know how to create a "Quick Mask", check out this tutorial to help you along your way.

A quick note here, when you are painting your mask on, it will be much easier to do it on the "Desaturated" layer if you are using the same photo as I am. The "Quick Mask"
paints red and a strawberry is red. You do the math.

Once you have the strawberry selected, hit the "Q" button to exit the "Quick Mask". You will notice that the selection area is around the strawberry as well as the image itself.

All we need is the strawberry, not the rest of the image. What we need to do is select the "Inverse".


Now we have the selection that we need. Now click the "Eye" to turn off the "Desaturated" layer and click on the layer containing the colour photo. That is where we need to pull the selected area from.

Once you have the colour layer selected, use the shortcut CTRL+J (win) / COMMAND+J (mac) to once again "Duplicate" your selection. A new layer containing the selected strawberry is created above layer 1. In the layers palette, just drag layer 2 above layer 1 copy and turn the "Desaturated" layer back on and Viola, colour and black & white.

Step 3

Now we could just stop there but there is another little trick that I want to show you. Go back to the original colour layer and get back into "Quick Mask". Zoom in on the eyes and make a selection out of them. Follow
the same steps as earlier to make the mask.

As we did previously, select the "Inverse" of the mask selection. Then use CTRL+J (win) / COMMAND+J (mac) to duplicate the selection to it’s own layer. Drag that layer above the
desaturated layer.

Now, her eyes look kinda scary, don’t you think. I actually want to change the colour of them. Make sure that you have the layer with the eyes selected and go to…

Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation
This is a great trick to know. With the "Hue/Saturation"
you can basically change the colour of anything. Once the dialog box is up, make sure that you check the "Colorize" box on the bottom right hand side. As soon as you check it, you will notice that the eyes change colour. Adjust the sliders as you see fit. I like green eyes, so here are the settings that I used.
I think that photos with this dynamic are amazing. They certainly stand apart from anything else. Use this knowledge on any kind of photo, it doesn’t have to be a person. Choose different elements to make your images pop more and people will think that you are a genius.


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