A friend asked me a few days ago how to use photoshop to convert a color image to black and white and keep some color elements of the photograph. Its not something that I do that often personally for no reason other than it doesn’t fit my photography style, although it can certainly be effective way to draw your viewer to a particular point in your photograph that you want them to focus on.
It is actually quite a straightforward process and here is a simple workflow you can follow to do this yourself.
1. Open your image in photoshop. File / Open
2. Duplicate this layer as you will need to convert this new layer into black and white. There are numerous ways to do this but if you want more control of the conversion rather than an automatic process – which I recommend – then you may find it easier to add a new adjustment layer by going to Image / Adjustments / Black and White.
3. The next step is to add a layer mask to the top black and white layer. You do this by either going to Layer / New / New Layer or by pressing the small square with a circle inside it in the bottom of the layers panel (usually the bottom right hand side of your screen).
4. Then quite simply all you have to do is to choose a brush and select black and paint over the part of the image that you want to reveal the color.Painting in black on a white layer merely reveals the layer below. If you make a mistake then all you have to do is change the brush to white and paint back over the part you want to amend.
and that’s it – it really is that simple!
The power of layer masks in photoshop are probably one of the most important and powerful features of this amazing computer program. More on Layer Masks to come!