How it Works
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How to Colorize Black and White Photos

A portrait fading from black and white to colored.
Create beautiful colorized photos quickly and easily

Breath new life into old photos by adding the dimension of color. ColorizePhoto.com is the easiest way to add lifelike colors to vintage photos. ColorizePhoto.com takes the guesswork out of selecting realistic skin tones and material colors that make normal photo colorizations look flat and unnatural. With no software to install, you can use ColorizePhoto.com to quickly and easily colorize a photo online.

Selecting the Black and White Photo

When you first load ColorizePhoto.com, the editor preloads a sample black and white image you can color.

Screenshot of http://www.colorizephoto.com at first load
The left pane contains the photo to color and the right pane contains the color reference photo.

You can follow along using the built in images, or you can load your own image. To load your black and white photo, click 'Open' from the top left corner of the page.

The 'Open' button in the left pane is highlighted
Use 'Open' in left pane to choose the black and white image

Select the picture from your computer to load the photo into the software. Your photo is never sent to our servers so there is no need to worry about the privacy of your photos.

The black and white photo replaces the initial black and white photo.
The black and white image loads into the left pane

Selecting the Color Reference Photo

With your black and white photo selected, the next step is to find a color reference image. This image will be the source of the colors for the colorization. If you don't have a reference image on hand, Google Images is a good source for images.

Google Image Search displaying possible photos for reference colors
Google Images is a good source of color photos

Search for a similar image with color and save it to your hard drive. Then select 'Open' in the right pane and find the photo you just saved.

Highlighting 'Open' button in the right pane used to select the reference photo
Use 'Open' in right pane to load the reference image

Now the you are ready to start applying colors from the reference photo to the black and white image.

The color reference photo loads into the right pane
The right pane contains the color reference photo

Colorize the Photo

Now the fun begins. To color the photo, you will select colors from the color photo and the paint them on the black and white photo.

Select the color

Use the reference photo to pick the colors to apply. For best results, select a similar area and brightness to the section of the black and white photo you wish to color.

Close up of colors selected in the color reference photo
Select colors from the right pane.

Use the color brush size slider to fine tune size of color selection brush. Click towards the top of the triangle to increase the size of the brush and towards the bottom of the triangle to decrease the size of the brush.

Close up of the color selector size slider
Adjust the color selection size

The color pane Output displays the colors that will be applied to the black and white photo.

The color output shows the selected colors
The selected colors

Apply the color

Now that some colors are selected, simply paint the colors on the black and white photo.

Black and white photo with some of the selected color roughly applied
Paint the selected color on to the black and white image.

You can fine tune how the color is applied through the brush options.

The brush options including hardness, size, and opacity.
Adjust the brush options.

Alter the brush edge by dragging in the upper right of the brush hardness tool.

Hardness slider set to soft Hardness slider set to medium Hardness slider set to hard
Result of applying color with soft brush Result of applying color with the medium brush Result of applying color with the hard brush
Soft Medium Hard

Use the brush size slider to adjust how big of an area is painted. Move the slider to the top to increase the brush size and to the bottom to decrease the brush size.

Slider used to adjust the brush size
Adjust the brush size

Use the brush Opacity slider to adjust how much color is applied to the photo. Decrease the Opacity and apply subtle hue variations to increase the realism of the colorization.

Slider used to adjust the brush opacity
Adjust the amount of color applied

Repeat

Now that you have the base color applied, select a new color from the color reference photo and apply it to different parts of the image.

Black and white image with more color applied to it
Continue applying color until the image is roughed out

Continue refining the photo. Use the Zoom controls to zoom in and do detailed coloring.

Controls used to zoom the canvas
Zoom in/out for fine details

Before long, you will have a beautiful, realistic colored photo.

Screenshot containing finished colorized image
Finished!

Use the 'Save' button to download your colorized photo.

Highlighting 'Save' button in left pane
Use 'Save' to download your finished product

That's all there is too it! Try it now