How to Colorize Black and White Photos Like a Professional

Before the introduction of color film, our world was photographed in black and white. In fact, until the mid-1900s, the only reliable way to produce colorful images was to colorize photographs by hand.

Even more recently, colorizing old photos could only be done by professional artists. Turning a black and white photo into a colorful image manually required time, skill, and dedication.

But now, photo colorization is possible for almost anyone. From old family photos to historical images, it’s easier than ever to colorize black and white photos.

Colorizing images allows you to inject new life into black and white photos from the past, preserve your family history, and turn monochrome photos into colorful images.

With photo editing tools, you can turn any black and white photo into a colorful, vibrant image. With artificial intelligence and user-friendly photo-editing apps, it’s never been so simple to add a pop of color to your black and white or faded photographs.

Want to take an old black and white photo and see what it would look like in color? Follow this guide to colorizing B&W photos (or sepia tone photos). Keep reading to learn about how to quickly and easily colorize black and white photos.

3 Ways to Colorize Images with Modern Technology

Technology has revolutionized the way people edit photographs. There are now more possibilities (and options) than ever when it comes to retouching and editing images—whether you want to add color to old pictures, remove unwanted objects from an image, or change the background of a photo.

There are three primary options for anyone looking to colorize sepia or black and white images using AI tools:

  • Option 1: Colorize black and white photos with an online editing tool. With AI-powered tools like Pixelcut’s Colorizer, it’s possible to turn any black and white or monochrome photo into a vibrant image full of color—and it’s easier than you think!
  • Option 2: Colorize B&W images on-the-go with a photo-editing app. There are a range of photo editing apps available for Android and iOS devices. Find one that has the power to colorize your images and download it from the App Store or the Play Store.
  • Option 3: Colorize images using editing software (like Photoshop). This is a more intensive option with a steeper learning curve, but it does allow for a greater level of detail than many editing apps.

Options 1 and 2 are relatively easy for anyone to do, while Option 3 tends to require more practice, patience, and skill. So, choosing which one is right for you really depends on whether you’re able to commit to learning how to colorize a photo with Photoshop—or whether you’d prefer a quick, automated solution.

Let’s walk through the steps you can follow to add color to your images using these coloring options.

The Fast & Easy Solution: How to Colorize Black and White Photos with Pixelcut

Thanks to tools like Pixelcut, photo editing is accessible to anyone with a smartphone or computer. This includes colorizing black and white or monochromatic images.

How to colorize photos with Pixelcut

Whether you want to use our free online tool or mobile app, Pixelcut is the easiest way to add color to black and white or sepia-toned photographs. Here are the simple steps you can follow to colorize any photo on your computer or phone.

Step 1: Open the Image Colorizer

Step 1: Open the Image Colorizer‍

Open the Pixelcut app or website and select the Colorize tool.

In the app, you’ll find Colorize in the list of tools under the create tab. On the website, you can access the Colorize tool right here.

Step 2: Select Your Photo

Next, simply upload or drag a photo to the colorizer.

You can select any photo from your files or even take a new picture on your smartphone camera. So, if you want to colorize a physical photograph from a family album, for example, you can use the camera option to take a photo of your black and white image.

Step 3: Let the Magic Happen

As soon as you select a photo, Pixelcut’s AI-powered colorizer tool will get to work. Wait for AI to work its magic. Within a few seconds, you’ll have a colorized version of your photo.

It’s automatic and effortless. All you need to do is wait a few seconds for the finished result to appear on your screen. That’s it!

Pro tip: Want to see a before and after of the colorizing process? You can compare the original to the colorized version simply by touching the screen. Press and hold the image to see the original image and let go to see the colorized version.

Step 4: Share or Save Your Colorized Image

That’s it! Now you can do what you like with the colorized version of your photo—whether that’s share directly to social media, send to a friend, or save to your library.

You also have the option to make further edits using Pixelcut’s range of user-friendly tools, like our background remover, magic eraser, and profile picture maker.

The More Intensive Solution: Colorize B&W Image with Photoshop

If you want really granular control over exactly how your colorized photo turns out, a more advanced tool like Photoshop might be the way to go. The downside, of course, is the amount of effort and skill required to get the results you want.

A Photoshop subscription is also more expensive than many other editing solutions, so it might only make sense if you’re a professional looking to invest in your career.

Colorizing photos with Pixelcut vs. Photoshop

There are actually two Photoshop methods you can choose between. The more traditional way, for perfectionists and professionals, is to manually edit and manipulate the colors layer by layer. This requires considerable time and dedication to colorize a single black and white photo.

However, if you have the latest version of Photoshop, you can use the Colorize filter to automate most of the work. This will save you some time but still requires knowledge of the program and manual adjustments if you want to get it right.

How to Colorize Photos with Adobe Photoshop’s Neural Filter

Here’s an overview of the steps needed to apply a Colorize filter to images in Photoshop:

Step 1: Open the Image in Photoshop

Open up Photoshop and select a photo from your library. If the image is on your phone and you want to use the full version of Photoshop on your computer, you’ll have to upload it from your phone to your computer first.

Step 2: Switch to RGB Color Mode

The Photoshop colorizer doesn’t work on Grayscale images, so be sure to convert your image to RGB before applying the filter.

Step 3: Duplicate the Background Layer

It’s good practice to create a new layer before making any edits. This will allow you to manipulate the image without touching the original copy.

Step 4: Increase Image Contrast

Within the duplicate layer, increase the contrast. This will make it easier to colorize the image without losing depth or detail.

You can use the Auto Contrast command for this (Alt + Shift + Ctrl + L) or make manual adjustments. Depending on the quality and age of the image, you may need to adjust the Auto Contrast by selecting Fade Auto Contrast (Shift + Ctrl + F) from the Edit menu and then lowering the opacity.

Step 5: Open Neural Filters

Photoshop offers a new workspace called Neural Filters, which uses machine learning to apply various effects to your images.

To access this space and the new filters, select Filter > Neural Filters from the main menu.

Step 6: Download & Turn on the Colorize Filter

If it’s your first time using this filter, you’ll need to download it first. Click on the cloud icon to download it to your computer.

Step 7: Activate the Filter + Adjust Color Balance

Next, activate the filter by turning it on. Click the circle next to the filter to activate it and then adjust the color balance to produce your desired effect. This will automatically infuse your photo with color based on Photoshop’s predictions of what the original image might look like in color.

If you’re not happy with the automated colors added by the filter, you can use the Color picker to select a different shade.

Step 8: Refine Colors with Focal Points

Even once you’ve adjusted the color balance, you may want to refine your image further. To achieve more realistic colors, you’ll need to select focal points to indicate which parts of the image you’d like to apply new edits and colors to.

For example, you may wish to adjust the color of a particular aspect of your photo (for example, a person’s hair color or skin tone). To do this, you would first select a new color from the Color picker (found below the image preview).

Refine colors with focal points in Photoshop

Then, click the spot on the preview image where you want to apply the new color. This will create a focal point and add the color to that area. To adjust the color or move the focal point, select the pin and drag it around or edit the color balance.

Repeat this step as many times as necessary to add as many focal points as you’d like to different parts of the image.

You can further refine your image by adjusting the color balance, saturation point, lightness, and hue of each color.

Meet Your New Favorite All-in-One Photo Editor

When it comes to creating awesome edits—whether you’re colorizing a black and white photo, adding a filter, or removing unwanted objects from the background—Pixelcut gives you everything you need.

It’s a must-have editing app for anyone who wants fast results that look great. It’s easy to use, offers loads of free features, and is one of the best ways to remove objects, change photo backgrounds, and edit your photos to perfection.

Before and after colorize black and white photo

With a huge selection of templates, backgrounds, and collages, you can turn any image into a custom work of art. You can also use Pixelcut to create professional designs for social media campaigns, your website, or business flyer.

The best part? Pixelcut is easy to use (no complicated tutorials required!) and more affordable than comparable options. Colorize your photos for free on our website or download the app today to try out all our cool features for yourself.

Sign up with Pixelcut to create colourful images from black and white photos in just a couple of clicks.

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