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Make a Photo B&W Except One Color

How to Make a Photo B&W Except One Color in Photoshop

by Waseem Abbas on May 14, 2019

Do you want to make an image black and white except for one color? Some photos can look really dramatic when you desaturate them and allow one color to pop through. In this article, we will show you how to make a photo B&W except one color in Photoshop.

Making a Photo Black & White Except One Color

The first thing you need to do is open your image in Photoshop.ย If you don’t have it yet, you can get Photoshop here from Adobe’s site.

Now right click on the Background layer in the Layers panel on the right-hand side of your Photoshop screen, and select the Duplicate Layer option (a new layer will be added named Layer 1).

Duplicate Layer

Next, select the Background layer again and press Ctrl + Shift + U to desaturate all the colors from the image.

Make Layer 1 invisible (click on the eye icon) to see the effect of the desaturation on your photo.

Desaturate Background Layer

Next, make Layer 1 visible again, and select it in the Layers panel.

Then go to Select ยป Color Range from the top menu bar in Photoshop.

Select Color Range

You’ll need to pick a color that you want to pop out. For this example, we’ll pick the blue color, so the image will be desaturated except for the blue roses.

In the Color Range dialog box, choose the Eyedropper Tool with the plus sign (this tool is called, “Add to Sample”).

Eyedropper Tool

Then click on the color that you want to pick. We are going to click on multiple areas on the blue roses, so we add all the different shades of blue to the sample.

Pick Color

Once you’ve picked your color, hit the OK button to create a selection on your photo.

Then press Ctrl + Shift + I to inverse the selection, everything is selected except for the color you want to preserve.

Make Selection

Go ahead and press the Delete button from your keyboard to remove the selected area from Layer 1. Now your photo will be B&W except for one color! (You can press Ctrl + D to remove the selection from the image.)

B&W Except One Color

If there are any leftover colors that you don’t want, pick the Eraser Tool and simply erase the leftover colors for a perfect result.

Eraser Tool

You can see the before and after image below.

Before After B&W Except One Color

We hope this article helped you to learn how to make a photo black and white except one color in Photoshop.

You may also want to check out our other Photoshop guides:

How to add a vintage black and white effect in Photoshop

Wedding Portrait Retouching in Photoshop: 5 Steps for Better Photos

Photoshop Actions for Wedding Photographers

14 Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers

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  1. Your tutorials are simply the best!` I don’t understand the other tutorials clearly, but you start from the very beginning and explain each step. Thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. What version of Photoshop do I need to do this? I am new to this but really want to be able to make images like this. Thanks for your help.

  3. Hi Waseem, How do I get the layers open? Mine has the temp, tint, exposure, contrast, highlights,shadows, whites, blacks, clarity, vibrance, saturation, open? Regards,


  4. Wonderfully simple tutorial, got me started on the right path! It would perhaps be useful to mention adjusting the transparency of the colourful layer to vary the vibrancy of the colour, but that could be too obvious for most people.

    1. Hey Karina, you can see the mouse on check box of Layer 1. When you click on this check box, it will make the Layer 1 visible. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hey Lori, can you please tell us what didn’t work for you? Any brief details will help us understand the issue, so we can guide you accordingly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. thank you for the excellent instructions. it was not the same on my iMac but i got it working with your help. please tell me what you do if not everything was deselected.

  6. Thanks for the instructions, one question, how do I clear the color range after I am done, when I load a new picture the color range is still keeping the colors from the last picture, sorry if this is a dumb question

  7. The Photoshop technology is really nice. I am always trying to find a new thing on Photoshop. I really find this article interesting. Thank you for sharing this information.

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