Scrapbook Ideas

Tips & Tricks. Ideas & Inspiration. Resources for Scrapbookers.

Selective Color and Photo Tinting Techniques

I’m on a roll lately with digital scrapbooking! It’s just too easy to make lots of pages with all of the gorgeous designs the Weeds and Wildflowers ladies have been producing :). The following page is a scraplift of a layout called Be Me by another Weeds and Wildflowers creative team member, Dawn (createwings). Check out her gallery, it is just FULL of inspiration!


For Credits, Click *HERE* (includes Weeds and Wildflowers freebie link)

Photoshop Tips & Tricks

  • I sometimes find it helpful to use keyboard shortcuts to arrange layers on my page. Typing ctrl+[ sends the active layer back one layer and ctrl+] brings the layer forward one. So if you drag and drop an element onto your page and it disappears behind a paper, just type ctrl+] several times until it appears again :)! 
  • I used the shape tool to cut the red paper into a flower shape that mimics the flower shaped buttons.
  • The ric-rac I used is extra thick, so I doubled up on the stitches and recolored them to match my page. I also recolored the circled doodle. Recoloring solid colored items, like doodles,  is as simple as using the paint bucket tool. This makes them great elements for adding an extra punch of color to the page.
  • I used the edit>transform>flip horizontal command on the main photo, because I wanted the image to pop out of the frame on the left, like in the inspiration page. 

The original photos I wanted to use are some of my favorites and I love their colors. They are pretty, but the bright colors didn’t match the theme or colors of the page, so I used two simple photo editing techniques to get a unique, dreamy look that I think compliments the page perfectly :)! 

NOTE: I used Photoshop CS for this technique, earlier or later versions of PS might have slightly different steps.

Technique: Selective Color Using a Layer Mask

Step 1

If you add small areas of color back into a black and white image, you are using a selective coloring technique. When I first started experimenting with this technique, my method was to simply create a new layer, remove the color, and erase the areas that I wanted to color to show through. That works, but it doesn’t give you much control, and makes it it difficult to correct mistakes. Using a layer mask is a simple, and gives you much more control over the effect. Step 1 This is the image I started with, I had already done my basic editing and cropping.

Step 2Step 2 Next, I duplicated the layer and ran a Virtual Photographer filter called “Hard Steel” on the duplicated layer. You don’t have to use a Virtual Photographer filter, you could just remove the color (desaturate) from the duplicated layer and make your own adjustments until you find a look you like. I love the virtual photographer filters because they are fast and easy (not to mention free!). If you run a filter and it looks too harsh, you can always use edit>fade (shift+ctrl+f) to tone it down a bit.

Step 3

Step 3 With the duplicated layer still active, I clicked the “add layer mask’ icon at the bottom of the layers palette, that looks like a square with a circle in the middle.

Step 4

Step 4 When the mask is turned on, there will be a white square next to the layer’s thumbnail in the layer palette. Using a small, soft edged brush, I painted with black over the areas of the image that I wanted to bring color back to. You can see in the layer mask thumbnail the areas that have been painted over. For the purposes of this tutorial, I used a brush set at 100% opacity so that you can see the effect clearly. For the actual images on my page, I used a brush set somewhere between 70-80 % opacity, so that the color would be somewhat muted. If you make a mistake or change your mind about something in a layer mask, you can always go back by painting back over it with white. This makes the layer mask very versatile and easy to use.

Technique: Tinting Photos to Match Your Page

Now that I had the selective color look I wanted, I just had  to adjust the color of the images so that they would coordinate with my page elements.

Step 5

Step 5 I added a new layer and using the paint bucket tool, I filled the layer with a red color I had picked up from one of the elements on my page. Then, in the pull-down menu at the top of the layers palette, I changed the blending mode to “hue”. I love how this simple technique made my photos look, and I hope you’ll enjoy using it as well :)!

There are at least two other techniques I want to show you from this page, but I will have to do it some other time. I’d love to show you how to make your image jump out of the frame, plus an easy way to put your text on journaling strips. So, check back soon for more photoshop fun :)! 

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12 responses to “Selective Color and Photo Tinting Techniques

  1. bunnynose July 14, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Great tip! I haven’t try the step 5 yet. Now I’m itching try it.(LOL) The LO is awesome. I love the strip of little photos behinde the main one.

  2. Pingback: Selective Color and Photo Tinting Techniques at Imaging Insider

  3. glo July 15, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for this tinting technique. I will try to use it soon :)

  4. Pingback: Photo Extraction Techniques « Scrapbook Ideas

  5. Janice July 18, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    What a great tip. I’ll have to fiddle around with this and see what I can come up with. What I like about your tips is I use Paint Shop Pro and I can adapt what you say for Photo Shop with my PSP. Thank you.

  6. Sandra July 20, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you so much for this tut.; I just had a go at doing it and loved the result

  7. Pingback: Out of Bounds Tutorial for Digi Scrapbooking « Scrapbook Ideas

  8. Elnora September 4, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Just discovered your wonderful tutorials this morning. Thanks so much for sharing your talents with us! You’ve added lots of skills and some very handy keyboard shortcuts to my quiver of digi-scrapping tools. Bravo!

  9. Jess September 12, 2007 at 11:39 am

    I’m so glad you’re all enjoying these tutorials! I am constantly learning new things about using Photoshop – mostly from tutorials written by others. So it makes me SO happy to be able to share the things I’ve learned with you as well!

  10. Kait October 4, 2007 at 7:43 am

    Love the layout and love that you share these photoshop techniques. Very useful to old and new users. Thank you for the inspiration and the tuts!

  11. Jay May 28, 2008 at 3:40 am

    any one know MASKING…..i have 200 photographs to be edited.

    Please quote me as well for each photographs !


  12. morti December 11, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I am a Singer and my free songs based on khayyam’s poems are in my personal web site(
    The Best of my songs is like a dream & like a pottery
    What is your idea about my Album?

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