Photoshop Tutorial: Reveal a Splash of Color in a Black and White Image

Adding a splash of color to a black and white image can add a touch of vibrancy and excitement, drawing attention to a specific element or creating a unique visual effect. In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll explore a simple yet effective technique to incorporate a splash of color into a black and white image.

Step 1: Open the Image and Convert to Black and White

  1. Begin by opening the black and white image you want to edit in Photoshop.
  2. If the image is already in grayscale, skip this step. If the image is in color, convert it to grayscale by going to Image > Adjustments > Black & White.

Step 2: Create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer

  1. Create a new hue/saturation adjustment layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. This layer will allow us to selectively adjust the color of specific areas in the image while maintaining the black and white effect.
  2. In the Hue/Saturation panel, click the checkbox next to Colorize to enable colorization.
  3. Drag the Hue slider to select the desired color for your splash of color. For example, you can choose a bright red, a deep blue, or a vibrant green.

Step 3: Create a Layer Mask for Selective Colorization

  1. Click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. This will create a layer mask that covers the entire image, effectively hiding the colorized area.
  2. Select the Brush Tool from the Tools panel and choose a soft-edged brush with a low opacity setting (around 10–20%).
  3. Set the foreground color to black (if you want to mask out the color) or white (if you want to reveal the color).
  4. Paint on the image with the Brush Tool to control where the color splash appears. Use the opacity slider to adjust the intensity of the color.

Step 4: Adjust and Refine the Color Splash

  1. Use the Eraser Tool to remove any unwanted color spills or to refine the edges of the color splash.
  2. Use the Color Dodge or Color Burn adjustment layers to further enhance the color splash. These layers can be used to adjust the brightness and contrast of the color, making it stand out more or blend more seamlessly into the black and white image.
  3. Adjust the opacity of the Hue/Saturation and Color Dodge/Color Burn adjustment layers as needed to achieve the desired balance of color and contrast.

Step 5: Save the Modified Image

  1. Once you are satisfied with the color splash effect, save the modified image in a high-quality format, such as JPEG or TIFF.


By following these simple steps, you can easily add a splash of color to your black and white images. This technique is versatile and can be used to create various effects, from highlighting a specific object to creating a more dramatic or surreal atmosphere. Experiment with different colors, opacity settings, and adjustment layers to achieve the desired outcome.