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Digital Photography Tips, Tutorials and Resources
Digital Photography Tips, Tutorials and Resources
by Alexandra Bateman on Mar 14, 2023
Do you want to make an image black and white except for one color? You can add a dramatic flair to your photos by desaturating all of the colors except one. This technique, known as Color Splash, will ensure that one color really stands out against a muted background!
In this article, we will show you how to make a photo B&W except one color in Adobe Photoshop. The Color Splash technique is easy to master, and you can use it on a variety of images in your gallery.
If you don’t have it yet, you can get Photoshop from Adobe’s site here.
Once you have Photoshop installed and up-to-date, we’re ready to begin.
Now, import your image to Adobe Photoshop. I’ll be working with this image, courtesy of Unsplash:
Right click on the Background layer in the Layers panel on the right-hand side of your Photoshop screen. Then select the Duplicate Layer option.
A dialog box will appear and ask you to name your new layer. Photoshop’s default name for this layer will likely be Background copy, but I find it’s easier to rename it for organizational purposes. I’m going to call my duplicate layer, Layer 1.
Duplicating the background layer allows us to complete our edit on two separate layers. While this may sound more complicated, or like extra work at the start, you’ll see why working on two layers makes our job easier in a bit.
Next, select the Background layer again and press Shift + Cmd+ U on Mac or Ctrl + Shift + U on Windows to desaturate all the colors in your image.
Notice that Layer 1 sits above the Background layer in the Layers panel. To see the effects of your desaturation, click the eye icon on the left of Layer 1 in the panel. Toggling the eye icon hides and reveals that layer.
Next, click the eye icon to make Layer 1 visible again, and select it in the Layers panel.
Then go to Select » Color Range from the top menu bar in Adobe Photoshop.
Here’s where you’ll select your accent color. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll choose to make my accent color blue. So, the goal at the end of this article will be to have an image that’s completely desaturated save for the blue water in the photo.
In the Color Range dialog box, choose the Eyedropper Tool with the plus sign. This tool is called “Add to Sample,” and it will help us select all of the blue tones in the photograph.
Using the Add to Sample Tool, click on the accent color in your image. Here, I’ll click on the blue water at multiple points in the image. Selecting multiple points allows me to add multiple shades of blue to the sample. The more shades I capture with the Add to Sample Tool, the more accurate my effect will be.
Once you’ve selected your accent color at multiple points in your image, select the OK button to create a selection on your photo.
Then press Shift + Command + U on Mac, or Ctrl + Shift + I on Windows, to inverse the selection you just made. Now, Photoshop has selected your entire image except for the color you want to preserve.
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!
We’re able to delete the portion of the top layer to reveal the bottom desaturated layer because we used two layers to create our effect. Pretty crafty!
You can press Ctrl + D to remove the selection from the image if your marching ants still remain on screen.
If the Add to Selection Tool didn’t perfectly exclude all other colors from your image, use the Eraser Tool to brush away any unwanted hues.
Now you’ve got a perfect image! Here’s the before and after of our sample image created by making a photo B&W except one color in Photoshop:
We hope this article helped you to learn how to make a photo B&W except one color in Photoshop. Now, you can apply this Color Splash technique to any of your vibrant photos.
A lot of photographers and social media influencers use this technique to create a unique style for their photos. Try this out for a few of your images and see what the feedback is!
Prefer working in Lightroom? Check out this tutorial to achieve the same effect in Adobe Lightroom.
The only thing your rockin’ image needs now is a place to be showcased! And, what better place for that than on your photography website? If you’re looking to create amazing galleries and speed up your WordPress website, you should check out Envira Gallery.
This amazing plugin allows you to create stunning, customizable and responsive WordPress galleries at the click of a button. Download the Envira Gallery demo and create create your first gallery today.
Wondering how to achieve more cool effects using Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop? Be sure to check out our most popular photography articles and how-to demonstrations below:
You may also want to check out our other Photoshop guides:
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Envira Gallery helps photographers create beautiful photo and video galleries in just a few clicks so that they can showcase and sell their work.
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! 🙂
Glad you like it, Miriam. 🙂
Is there an app for Samsung note 8 where I can use this feature please
YOU ARE THE BEST. Kept it simple and clear, saved my day.
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.
You can use Adobe Photoshop CS6 or CC to achieve this effect on your photos. 🙂
I am using PS CC. When I select the Background layer and press Ctrl+Shift+U, desaturation does NOT occur . Help
I know it’s late but the correct way via MAC is SHIFT + COMMAND + U
Great post, you did really well for the learners like us. Thanks for sharing!
Hey Mehedi, we are glad you like this post. Do follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more free Photoshop tutorials. 🙂
Thank you so much! You make it so easy for self-training designers! Subscribed forsure ?
Hey Aj, I’m glad these posts are helpful to you. Do follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more free photo editing tutorials and other guides.
Thanks this was very simple and it helped alot
Hey Jake, we are glad that this tutorial has helped you. Do follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more free Adobe Photoshop and photography editing tutorials.
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,
Hey Callie, can you please elaborate more on layers open? I would love to help with this tutorial. 🙂
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.
Hey Pascal, we are glad to know that you liked it. Do follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more free photo editing tutorials. 🙂
Always wanted to know how to do that. Thanks a million !
Hey Nigel, we are glad to know that you liked it. Do follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more free photo editing tutorials. 🙂
Gah! I don’t understand how to make Layer 1 visible again!! 🙁
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. 🙂
Good and concise!
Just wanted to add that adding a layer mask instead of deleting gives you a non-destructive workflow
Great tip, Rico! Thanks for stopping by & sharing 🙂
I have followed the instructions and cannot make it work. I am using photoshop cc.
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. 🙂
yes,u r great.so simple to understand ur teaching.I love gain more knowledge from u about PS.Thanks
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.
Hey Ali, I’m glad it helped you. 🙂
I don’t have the “color range” option! maybe i’m doing something wrong?
This appears to be a Photoshop Elements vs Photoshop CS issue. Apologies if that wasn’t clear! And let us know if you have any more questions.
Thank you! Perfect tutorial, got it on the second try!
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
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.
I am new at this and managed to get as far as inverse the selection. Nothing happens when i press delete.
Thanks for the nice information. I am also using this photoshop technology. I always find new technics on photoshop
I achieved it. Thank you so much. You kept it so simple. step by step n no confusions. Thanks again
There are some attention-grabbing deadlines in this article however I don抰 know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity however I will take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as effectively
Wonderful work. I failed to do this after watching many tutorials for several hours. Finally, I was able to do the job properly by reading your tutorial. Thanks so much for the useful tutorial.
hello, how I can change color on the menu bar buttons outline on hovering..
Great guide. Unfortunately, my inverse selection won’t delete?