Colorized historical images are very popular in the photo community, but how exactly does one start colorizing photos? Getting to the skill level demonstrated by the Photoshoppers in Reddit’s ColorizedHistory subreddit will take countless hours of practice, but if you want to start this Tutorial from Tuts+ is a great primer.
The tutorial covers three different methods — one destructive and two non-destructive — that vary in difficulty, control and effectiveness from beginner to more advanced.
In 11 minutes you’ll learn how to colorize an old black and white photo (or a new one for that matter…) using either the Color Replacement Tool, Color Blend Mode, or a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer.
Obviously becoming a skilled colorizer will require much more than knowing how to effectively add color in Photoshop. You have understand how light affects color, how adjacent colors will affect each other in an image and if your goal is to colorize historical photos there will be some research involved to discover the correct colors for everything from clothes to cars to canned goods.
Still, everybody’s got to start somewhere and this primer from Tuts+ is a solid first tutorial, particularly if you’re never tried to add color to a B&W photo in your life. And once you’ve got this down, check out this video to see how a more complex historical colorization comes together from start to finish.