Go to Top

Photoshop tutorial. Colouring black and white photos

Photoshop tutorial. Colorize old black and white photos, photo restoration

In the last tutorial I covered how you can use simple methods, color / balance, to add color to old black and white photography. What should you do if you come across complex, multi-faceted objects such as wood, leaves, twigs, etc? Restoring each object individually takes a lot of time. Photoshop tutorial. Colouring black and white photos.

In this tutorial I will use a famous photograph of Lyudmila Pavlyuchenko (Lady Death). She is regarded as the most successful female sniper in history.

Photoshop tutorial Photo restoration

Photoshop tutorial Photo restoration


Layer- New
1. Face + Hands
2. Uniform
3. Rifle
4. Camouflage cloak
5. Forest
Divide the picture into layers. Use tools like

Quick Mask (Q), Brush Tool (B), Eraser Tool (E).


Photoshop tutorial colour old black white photos

Each layer of paint can have the "color/balance" feature applied to it. I will not elaborate further here, because it was a topic covered in the last tutorial.

image - Adjustments - color / balance (Shadows, Midtones, Highlights)


tutorial photoshop

Select the layer "Forest."
Image - Adjustments  - selective color

tutorial photoshop

Image - Adjustments - selective color


tutorial photoshop

Here I used the tool:
Sponge Tool (O) 15-40%
Blue - Desaturate
Red - Saturate


tutorial photoshop

Layer - New - Blend Mode - Overlay
Add color, Brush Tools.
Brush Tool (B) 10-25%
I usually use three colors: blue, red, and orange. There is no template, so change the color to blend mode. I repeat this action several times until the desired result is achieved.

photoshop tutorials colour old black white photos

Here is the layer in "normal mode."


tutorial photoshopOnce again, edit the layer “Forest.” Use a variety of tools:

Image  - Adjustments - selective color, color/balance, brightness / contrast, saturation, etc.
This is not an exact science and I cannot give the exact parameters. It all depends on your taste and sense of color.

Colouring black and white photos. Final

Photoshop tutorial. Colouring black and white photos

Restoration Before and After

Photoshop tutorial. Colouring black and white photos. Photo restoration. I spent five or ten minutes to recover  Autumn Woods. And about 60 minutes for a complete restoration and adding color black and white images.

Bonus: Lyudmila Pavlyuchenko

photo restoration ludmila pavlicenco

 Trailer. "Battle for Sevastopol"