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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Toning B&W Photographs >

1 - Introduction

Toning is when you add color to a black-and-white photograph.

There are many ways to do toning.

We'll look at three methods.

Be sure to check off as you go along.


1) Preserve your original file.

If you haven't already done so, go to Preserve Your Original File.

2) Create a Background copy layer.

If you haven't already done so, go to Create a Background Copy Layer.

B&W or Color?

3) Are you starting with a black-and-white photograph or a color photograph?

B&W Photograph

You need to make sure your black-and-white photograph is in the RGB Color mode.

To check, go to Image > Mode.

If RGB Color isn't checked, click RGB Color to convert to the RGB Color mode.

Color Photograph

You need to convert your color photograph into black-and-white.

The easiest way is to go to Enhance > Adjust Color > Remove Color.

However, the quality is often poor.

Instead, go to Enhance > Convert to Black and White.

Make a Composite Layer

5) If you have more layers than just the Background and Background copy layers, merge them into a composite layer.

A composite layer contains all of the layers of your photograph.

Go to Composite Layer.

Use the composite layer for toning.

Three Methods

Method #1 - Color Variations

The next section is the Color Variations Method.

Color Variations is not available in Photoshop Elements 12 and later versions.

The method is easy.

You can do split toning. where two colors are used.

Method #2 - Colorize

The Colorize Method is next.

You can select a specific color for toning.

You need not convert a color photograph to B&W first.

You can use a brush to hand color your photograph.

Method #3 - Solid Color Adjustment Layer

The Solid Color Adjustment Layer Method is yet another method.


Go to:

Mixing Other Colors.

Split Toning with a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer.

Digital Lith & Digital Albumen Toning.


You may encounter the term duotone.

In Photoshop, but not in Photoshop Elements, you can create a black-and-white photograph with ink colors, rather than initially with RGB colors.

For example, black ink is combined with a second ink, such as a red.