Colorizing Photographs: Before and After

Colorizing Photographs: Before and After

I’m going to discuss some of the techniques I use to colorize photographs in this first of a series of articles.

In alterting the colors, my main objective is to say something new about the original photograph. Sometimes I make subtle changes and other times the alterations are radical.

I’ve begun working on colorizing a series of stock photographs from the online site www.pixabay.com. I tend to make more dramatic changes to these photographs to add a stamp of originality to the finished pieces, as in the examples that follow here:

 

city-1213031abefore

BEFORE

city-1213031a

AFTER

 

sea-1051149aabefore

BEFORE

sea-1051149aa

AFTER

 

arctic-139393abefore

BEFORE

arctic-139393a

AFTER

There are many ways to alter colors using Adobe Photoshop. I find that adding reds and yellows causes the most dramatic effects. But you must use a light touch, because adding too much color will cause areas of the photograph to break up and become distorted.

The most basic way to alter or adjust a photograph is with brightness and contrast. The brightness tool doesn’t change colors, it just makes them brighter or darker. I use the brightness tool much more often than the contrast tool, which tends to distort images in unwanted ways.

I almost always turn to the Hue/Saturation tool as the first stage for colorizing photographs. Saturation basically adds or subtracts red from the image. Hue is a lot of fun as it changes all of the colors in an image across the full spectrum of possible colors.

I used to use the Hue function when I was first starting out, but rarely use it now as the color changes are too dramatic and can be annoying to some viewers.

That said, these are some different versions of the same photo I altered using the Hue function. As a first step I added some red to the original photograph using the Saturation tool.

 

artstelephone3original

ORIGINAL

artstelephone3_3x200

COLORIZED 1

artstelephone3aa

COLORIZED 2

artstelephone3AA1

COLORIZED 3

 

That’s it for now! I’ll be back soon with more tips for colorizing photographs, including a great way to add multiple colors to black and white photos.

Andrea

 

Copyright © 2016 Andrea Reider. All rights reserved.

Thank you! Andrea

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