Selective Colour in Black and White Images Tutorial

Introduction: Selective Colour in Black and White Images Tutorial

About: Sasha has been a photoshop nerd and photographer for over 10 years now. She loves to share information and make the world a more colourful place, perhaps a little photoshop enhanced.

This seems like an easy thing to do but I’ve noticed that people are still asking about it So here’s how you can achieve this effect with this easy to follow tutorial. All the edits that you are doing are 100% none destructive, which means that you can go back at any time and tweak the different layers to your liking.

Difficulty: Basic – Intermediate

Completion time: 1/2 to 1 hour

Tools: Adobe PhotoshopCS1 +


The image you want to convert to B&W with a splash of colour

or blue lips stock by *GlamourousAcid-Stock

Note: For Mac users, the correspondent keys for CTRL and ALT are CMD and OPTION.

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Step 1: Convert to Black & White

Open the image that your using in photoshop and apply a channel mixer adjustment layer.

The settings that I used were the default Black and White with red filter (RGB) which is red – 100%

Step 2: Bring in the Colour

The on the mask with a soft brush, using black as the foreground colour, you just mask out the part of the image that you want in colour.

And that’s basically it. You can also use a hue/saturation adjustment layer and the black and white adjustment layer in the same fashion. I prefer the channel mixer as it give a lot more control over how the black and white will look in the end.

Step 3: Optional


First Image:You can also duplicate the back ground layer, and place it above the channel mixer layer, change the blend mode to soft light and create a muted colour instead of black and white.

Second Image: Here’s the same effect, but the blend mode is set to overlay:

Third Image: And here the blend mode is set to screen with lips masked out again.

Handy tip: When applying the same mask again, hold the alt key and drag the mask up. This will duplicate the mask without you needing to redo it all over again!

The lips look a little washed out here, so lets duplicate the background layer again, place it on top of the layer stack, change the blend mode to multiply, apply the same mask as the screen layer, but press ctrl-i with the mask selected to invert it and change the opacity to 50%.

So there you have a quick and easy black and white image with selective colour and few more bonus techniques on how to make your images pop!

I would love to see what you come up with and any feedback that you may have.

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    5 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Why don't the images show the changes on GlamourousAcid-Stock? I'm not seeing the steps that change it.



    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for pointing that out. I changed the photo in the first step to the correct one. The later changes in the image are quite subtle :)