Tutorial: Photo Tinting in Photoshop

One of the greatest advantages to digital scrapbooking is the ability to manipulate photos to suit your layout. You can change the size, color, or apply different effects at the touch of a button. One of my favorite things is photo tinting. In a graphics program, photo tinting is so easy! Much easier than carefully applying paint or oils with a q-tip to a tiny area! And, you don’t even have to have a black and white photo!

This tutorial will show you two different methods of tinting photographs with Photoshop; the transparency method and the colorizing method. These methods can be easily translated to other programs such as Jasc Paint Shop Pro and Microsoft Digital Image Pro.

Transparency Method: With this method of photo tinting, you are actually using the photo underneath to produce the color.


1. Open a Color Photo (If your photo is already black and white skip step three.) I have chosen to color the roses in this photo.


2. Duplicate your layer so that you have two photos – one on top of the other. (Layer>Duplicate Layer)

3. Desaturate the top photo (CTRL-SHFT-U) do any adjustment with brightness, contrast, curves, etc. that you want.

4. Click on your eraser tool

5. Erase the area on the black and white layer that you want colored. Make sure to zoom in and user a smaller brush for the edges.

That’s it! So simple yet so beautiful!


The second method is actually colorizing the photos. This method looks more like hand-tinted photos. The color is not as realistic…but it can still produce a pretty effect. There are two ways of going to about this; either with the lasso tool or with brushes. I’ll address both in this tutorial.

1. Open your color photo.
2. Select All (CTRL-A) and copy (CTRL-C) and paste (CTRL-V) into a new window. This will keep your original photo intact. You don’t want to alter the original photo.
3. Turn your new copy of the photo black and white by desaturating it (CTRL-SHFT-U) Adjust contrast/brightness, levels and curves to your liking.


4. With your eyedropper tool, choose a color from your original photo from the area you want to colorize. In this photo, I am going to colorize the roses again. So I’m going to choose a light yellow from the color photo.


5. With your lasso tool, select your roses. You may have to do it multiple stages.


6. Now hit CTRL-U. Click on the Colorize button on the bottom right. You can adjust any of the sliders to get your desired color. You may have to go back in and fill it some spots that you missed with the lasso again.


And you’re done!

Now with Brushes!

Follow steps 1-4 of the lasso method.


5. Create a new layer to colorize on. For each object you colorize, you will need to create a new layer to colorize on.

6. Change the opacity on this new layer to about 30%


7. Now choose a brush and start coloring! Zoom in and use a smaller brush around the edges.

8. You can use CTRL-U to adjust the color to your liking.

You’re done!

Photo tinting can add such a wonderful accent to your pages, whether they are digital or paper. With tinting you can take your photo from a good photo to a piece of art!

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