Colorizing Black and White Photos

2012-10-25 4

Here’s a tipster on how to diversify and make highlights in b&w photography. Included are methods of manual coloring pictures as well as coloring with pens.

Photography – this is art. And no matter, digital or analogue photography, passed through Photoshop or not, it is still art. However, with respect to Lomography, we are interested only in analogue techniques. Color is not so simple as it may seem unsophisticated to the naked eye. There are many tricks that the photographer will be able to express his feelings on the film, but my soul is in black-and-white photography, and that’s what we’ll talk about.

I want to tell you how you can diversify and revitalize some black and white pictures without the “digits”. It’s simple – they should be painted! I may be wrong, but I heard that painted pictures are called “illustrations”. Even if it is not, I like the word “illustration”, and I’ll use it.

With the colorization process among pictures, it is important not to get carried away and not to make an imprint in children’s coloring, although in this case you may end up with something original and worthy of attention. Still, I suggest using this method as it does not turn a black and white photo into a color, but only to create focus on an object or group of objects.

There are different methods of painting pictures. This can be used when using special paints retouching color photographs, and the use of other paints. We, as experimenters with materials at hand are given an interesting second method, however, and it offers us a choice. You can paint the picture with oil paint or gouache, then we can get a real picture, but it should be remembered that the use of such paints in the photo is evident – the very visible paint and not the painted object. My opinion is that painting the black and white photo should not strive to make it a color – just toning the object that I want to draw attention to, but which for various reasons has turned slurred. Photo ultimately remains black and white, but it will become the highlight. Use dull pastel colors if you want to keep the volume and pattern of colorable items.

That’s what we should strive:

Photos by Oleg Vanilar

Or this:

So, choose what color the picture (please train with damaged ones first). As simple as it may seem, the best one will be markers. Choose bright. And get to work!

There are several ways to paint markers. If the photo is contrasty, the use of “dry” method is best, if mild, then – “wet.”

Dry method. Color the object clearly to the border, then take a swab moistened with water and rub our “work” until uniform in color. No need to get out of the object.

Wet method. Soak the photo. Remove excess water from the emulsion and paint until the photo is wet. Color the object. Then washed in the shower imprint and dry.

  • Do not paint all the pictures;
  • Do not paint the whole picture;
  • Everything should be in moderation;
  • The portrait paint lips, eyes;
  • In the photo to the growth touch up clothing items;
  • The scenery make green leaves on a tree or grass underneath. For example:
Credits: alfater
  • Still-life fit bright flower;
  • Do not rush! Think what you paint. For example, my mistake was to paint the entire bottle, while it was necessary to keep the white letters and highlights:
Credits: alfater

And the main thing! Remember, there are no rules. Create your own artwork. Experiment!

written by alfater on 2012-10-25 #gear #tutorials #tipster #illustration #decorate #prettification #pen #black-and-white #painting #paint #marker #color
translated by alfater


  1. victoriaschofield
    victoriaschofield ·

    This is really cool

  2. alfater
    alfater ·

    @victoriaschofield, thanx!

  3. freckleface
    freckleface ·

    i like how your work turned out! Just to understand though, the dry method you paint the print and then you wipe it off, and the wet method you paint it on and wash it off with water? Not sure if I understood this but I really want to try to out! :)

  4. alfater
    alfater ·

    @freckleface, hello. If i understand you right, i'll try to answer, sorry my english ;)
    In wet method you will take out photo from water, shake out water and then paint. Be careful take place before border of painting area.
    Try it ;)

More Interesting Articles

  • Learning Photography in Black and White: Why It Helps

    written by Ciel Hernandez on 2016-04-16
    Learning Photography in Black and White: Why It Helps

    The advantage of black and white photography is more than just looking classic. It's about having better skills in photography as well.

  • Daguerreotype Achromat First Impressions: Kamal Tung

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2016-07-15 #gear #people
    Daguerreotype Achromat First Impressions: Kamal Tung

    Kamal Tung's black-and-white portraits shot with the Petzval Lens were previously showcased on the Magazine. The opportunity to shoot with another Lomography Art Lens has arrived. More of Kamal Tung's work, shot with the Daguerreotype Achromat Lens, are included in this feature.

  • Photo of the Day by eels

    written by lomography on 2016-02-17 #news
    Photo of the Day by eels

    Today's featured photo is an ode to the timeless beauty of black and white photography.

    2016-02-17 1
  • Shop News

    Say Aloha to the Lomo'Instant Honolulu!

    Say Aloha to the Lomo'Instant Honolulu!

    Ride the wave of infinite creative possibility with the Lomo'Instant Honolulu! Sway with the palm trees, dig your toes in the sand, and start snapping amazing instant photos!

  • Newcomer of the Week: emilybeaver

    written by lomography on 2015-10-25 #videos
    Newcomer of the Week: emilybeaver

    Emily Beaver got the community hooked on her compelling black and white portraits of musicians. Despite the absence of colors, her images are enliven by the intense emotions of her subjects. In this interview, our newcomer of the week opens up about her passion for photography, shooting exclusively with an LC-A, and more.

    2015-10-25 2
  • Black and White Photography: The Forms of the World

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-01-19
    Black and White Photography: The Forms of the World

    Colors may be amped to look unreal, like nothing of this world. Shots may be doubled, cross-processed, post-processed, mixed up into collages. The possibilities are infinite, yet some photographers still prefer black and white. Even in 2016, it is an ode to classic values of precision and balance. Light and shadow must be one pleasing dance. And just like in a well-choreographed piece, forms are obvious or playing coy. It all depends on how you're looking.

  • Awesome Albums: Botanic Gardens by sharpwaveripple

    written by lomographymagazine on 2015-10-28
    Awesome Albums: Botanic Gardens by sharpwaveripple

    Sometimes it's fun to resist the tropes of photography. Going to a colorful place? Bring black and white film instead.

  • Shop News

    LC-A+ & LC-W Accessories

    LC-A+ & LC-W Accessories

    Combine your LC-A+ or LC-W Camera with great, fun Accessories and get 15% Discount on all Lomography Accessories when bought together with the Camera!

  • Master of Monotone: Black, Gray, White

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-02-24
    Master of Monotone: Black, Gray, White

    Playing with black and white film is the great way to enhance one's skill in capturing light and shadow. Here are fine examples from the Lomography community.

  • The Art of Picture Taking: An Interview with Filmmaker Catherine Dauphin

    written by Azin Teimoori on 2016-02-16 #videos #people
    The Art of Picture Taking: An Interview with Filmmaker Catherine Dauphin

    At the time of its inception, photography was considered less a fine art and more a scientific method of reproduction. But anyone who has dabbled in the craft will argue otherwise; that there consists a very specific artistry in the photographic medium. We spoke with Luxembourg-based filmmaker Catherine Dauphin about her thoughts on this wonderful art form. Join us as she answers some of our questions about film, photography, and her short film titled "The Art of Picture Taking."

  • Embroidered Pictures by Diane Meyer

    written by chvo on 2015-10-17 #people
    Embroidered Pictures by Diane Meyer

    Editing pictures with image manipulation software or a mobile app is not unheard of. An alienation of photos by needle and thread, on the other hand, is an intricate process. Los Angeles-based artist and photographer Diane Meyer has gained instant fame for her embroidered analog photos. In this interview, she talks about adding a new dimension to pictures as well as her source of inspiration and other projects.

    2015-10-17 3
  • Shop News

    Great discounts on Instax Mini films when you them with the Lomo'Instant Milano

    Great discounts on Instax Mini films when you them with the Lomo'Instant Milano

    Purchase the newest, coolest, pinkest Lomo'Instant yet, the Lomo'Instant Milano and get up to 20% off the price of film when you buy it with 10 packs of Instax Mini Films!

  • Gray Matter: Black and White Photography With the Lubitel 166+

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-01-22 #news
    Gray Matter: Black and White Photography With the Lubitel 166+

    It's no secret that the Lubitel 166+ produces bold, saturated colours that'll make your jaw drop to the floor! But the tones and contrast of this twin-lens camera carry across to black and white just as brilliantly. Here are some breathtaking grayscale photographs from our Online Community!

  • The "It" Factor in the Fashion Portraiture of Kristy Benjamin

    written by Ciel Hernandez on 2016-05-08 #people
    The "It" Factor in the Fashion Portraiture of Kristy Benjamin

    While colors allure, they are prone to faux pas, hence the most commonly used color scheme when it comes to iconic fashion photography is black and white. Fashion shooter Kristy Benjamin turns her back on the limiting tradition to put her eye-popping candy palette to the test.

  • Blue for Hue: Day and Night Visions on Kono! Donau Film

    written by Lomography on 2015-10-19 #news #gear
    Blue for Hue: Day and Night Visions on Kono! Donau Film

    Not all photographs are meant to be seen in vibrant, saturated colors, and neither are they always suitable for in black and white. Lomography welcomes yet another innovation from KONO! The Reanimated Film. Without diminishing the aesthetic value of images, KONO! Donau 35mm Film casts a distinct blue tone to photos. It is ultra-low ISO film that is best used for long exposure shots. Check out this fine selection of uniquely tinted images.