Digital Photo Tinting

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sara-horton-xsmI am fortunate enough to have inherited a box of family heritage photos. Although all of them were black and white, there were a few hand-tinted photos that caught my eye. I love the soft look of these photographic treasures. I can imagine an artist painstakingly applying oils in just the right places to give those photos their beautiful colors before the advent of color film.

With Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, you can revive this antique technique. Digital tinting is far easier than the traditional oil and paintbrush method, too!

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For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

Step 1: Find the Right Photo

Begin by selecting a photo that will be enhanced with this technique. Close-up portraits of children work particularly well. Perhaps you have photos of your children in fields of flowers or dressed up in cowboy clothing. Maybe you have photos of your friends or family members wearing old-fashioned clothing. These types of photos as well as formal portraits make excellent choices.

Avoid using photos with bright, neon coloring and wild designs. Simple, classic clothing lends itself well to the hand-colored look.

Step 2: Duplicate and Recolor the Photo

Open your photo in PSE. Duplicate it by pressing Ctrl + J (Mac: Cmd + J) on your keyboard. In the Layers Palette, you'll see two copies of the same photo stacked on top of one another.

Next, change the color of the top photo to black and white using one of these methods:

  • Photoshop Elements 6 and 7: Select the top photo and choose Enhance > Convert to Black and White. In the lower left-hand corner, select a style that gives you good contrast and detail. Move the Adjustment Intensity sliders to the right of the style until you are pleased with the black and white conversion. Click OK.
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  • Photoshop Elements 5: Select the top photo and choose Enhance > Convert to Black and White. In the lower left corner, select a style that gives you good contrast and detail. Click the buttons to the right to tweak the style and move the Adjustment Intensity slider below the style until you are pleased with the black and white conversion. Click OK.
  • Earlier versions of Photoshop Elements: Select the top photo. Press Ctrl + U (Mac: Cmd + U) to activate the Hue/Saturation dialog box. Drag the Saturation slider all the way to the left and click OK.

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Step 3: Reduce the Opacity of the Top Layer

At this point, you'll be viewing a black and white version of your photo. To give the black and white photo a hand-tinted look, select the top layer. Click the down-facing Opacity arrow above the Layers Palette to activate the Opacity slider. Drag the slider to the left until some of the color begins to show through the black and white version.

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Step 4: Selective Coloring

To complete the hand-colored look, get the Eraser tool. Choose a soft, round brush in Brush Mode at 100% (or less, to your taste.) Select the top (black and white layer) and click on the subject's cheeks and eyes. This brings even more color back to these portions of the photo, giving it a more authentic hand-painted appearance.

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Finally, merge the two layers together by selecting Layer > Flatten Image.

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Credits:
Scrapbook page by Sara Horton
Font: Type Right!
Walk in the Park Layered Template by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals
Botanist Notebook No. 9 Kit by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals
Worn Page Edges by Lynn Grieveson at Designer Digitals

Step 1: Find the Right Photo

Begin by selecting a photo that will be enhanced with this technique. Close-up portraits of children work particularly well. Perhaps you have photos of your children in fields of flowers or dressed up in cowboy clothing. Maybe you have photos of your friends or family members wearing old-fashioned clothing. These types of photos as well as formal portraits make excellent choices.

Avoid using photos with bright, neon coloring and wild designs. Simple, classic clothing lends itself well to the hand-colored look.

Step 2: Duplicate and Recolor the Photo

Open your photo in Photoshop. Duplicate it by pressing Ctrl + J (Mac: Cmd + J) on your keyboard. In the Layers Palette, you'll see two copies of the same photo stacked on top of one another.

Next, change the color of the top photo to black and white by choosing Image > Adjustments >Black and White. This activates the Black and White dialog box. Choose the Custom Preset and move the sliders to make adjustments to the color conversion. When you are satisfied, click OK.

2009-05-04-tip01ps

Step 3: Reduce the Opacity of the Top Layer

At this point, you'll be viewing a black and white version of your photo. To give the black and white photo a hand-tinted look, select the top layer. Click the down-facing Opacity arrow above the Layers Palette to activate the Opacity slider. Drag the slider to the left until some of the color begins to show through the black and white version.

2009-05-04-tip02ps

Step 4: Selective Coloring

To complete the hand-colored look, get the Eraser tool. Choose a soft, round brush in Brush Mode at 100% (or less, to your taste.) Select the top (black and white layer) and click on the subject's cheeks and eyes. This brings even more color back to these portions of the photo, giving it a more authentic hand-painted appearance.

2009-05-04-tip03ps

Finally, merge the two layers together by selecting Layer > Flatten Image.

2009-05-04-tip04ps


2009-05-04-tip05ps

Credits:
Scrapbook page by Sara Horton
Font: Type Right!
Walk in the Park Layered Template by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals
Botanist Notebook No. 9 Kit by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals
Worn Page Edges by Lynn Grieveson at Designer Digitals