Black & White pics with Bits of Color

I have always loved photographs that are in black & white. When I first saw pictures that had little bits of color in with the black & white, I was just amazed. It was love at first sight. I had no clue how easy it really is to do myself until I got Photoshop, and just started playing around...

I love this picture of my daughter holding my Mom's hand, but I thought it might be even more interesting if I did it in black & white except for the dress.

Sure enough! It really 'popped' her dress, and took the focus totally in to her.

How is this done? Super easy:

I just took the original picture and duplicated the layer. I then took the duplicated layer (the one on top) and desaturated it (in other words, turned it into black & white). I then used the magic wand tool to trace around Livia's dress (I feathered it to about 10 px, I believe) Once the dress was all selected, I just hit the delete button - it took away the desaturated layer & I was left with a cute little color dress against the black & white. To finish it up, I flattened the image & saved it as a copy (I always keep all my originals, no matter how silly that is!)

I'm sure there are other ways to do this, but just through playing around, I figured this one out - and I really like it. That's the cool thing about Photoshop: there's rarely just one right way to do something. And 'easiest' to someone can be more difficult for another. To each his or her own


Adjusting Contrast & Desaturation

What a huge difference even a couple of quick changes can make...

From the original...

To a classy image

And all I did was adjust the contrast & desaturate the image. (That's Photoshop terminology for turning a picture into black and white)

Granted, this picture still isn't fantastic... But because of sentimental reasons, I wanted to try to salvage something out of it. The key to good photography is to get a great shot to begin with. Learning your camera, its capabilities, and even its limitations are very important to taking pictures. If you have an SLR... learn how to use it in MANUAL! I'm preaching to the choir here, as I'm still learning to do so myself...

I wish you all the best of luck - I'm learning right along with you!