How to colour your old photographs

While preparing the fourth issue – The International Issue – I went through some old photo albums of my Grandparents. One contained gorgeous black and white images from a trip my Grandparents took with friends in 1939. I toyed with the idea of using one as the cover image but I didn’t want a black and white shot for the cover as we had done that for Issue Three. So I wondered if it would be possible to colour it myself. A friend sent me through this link on how to colour photographs using Photoshop. The instructions are fairly easy to follow and by using these steps I coloured the below image. I used the magnetic selection tool and a lot of it is trial and error.  The amount of elements in the image will determine how complicated it is and how long it will take. All up, this photograph took around 10 hours (spread over two days). There was no way to tell what the original colours were so I made them whatever I wanted. The skin was the most difficult to perfect but overall I think it turned out ok! Probably could use a bit more practice to make it look more realistic. I’m sure there are probably other ways to colour old images so if anyone has another method I’d love to hear it!

The main reason I decided not to use the coloured version of this image as our issue four cover was that I didn’t feel it screamed ‘international travel’. I wanted an image that was instantly recognisable and iconic, so in the end we decided on a landscape image, with no human element – a first for Lila Jean Vintage.




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