Monday, April 29, 2013

Photoshop Elements Photo-Editing Tutorial

Hi There, Sarah here and today I'm sharing a photo-editing tutorial with you about how to convert a photo to black and white but then re-reveal a certain colour element from the photo. I used this technique on the photo that I used in my "Those Eyes" layout, created using the ScrapThat! March Kit.  I converted this photo of my son to black and white, but then revealed his beautiful blue eyes!

Here is the step-by-step procedure to create this photo effect using Photoshop Elements.

1. Open the picture you want to edit in Photoshop Elements.
2. Crop the photo to the size/shape you want. For this I chose a 5x5 crop to get a square photo.

3. Under the “Layer” tab, choose “New Adjustment Layer” and then “Gradient Map”. This will create a black and white layer over your original picture, converting the image to black and white. 

Note: If your image isn’t black and white, check the Gradient Map options in the Layers palette on the right side toolbar and ensure the correct (i.e. black and white) colour profile is selected.

4. We’re now going to restore the colour to the eyes of the photograph. On your layers palette, the gradient map layer has two thumbnail icons. The thumbnail on the right is the layer mask, which lets you alter your adjustment by painting on it. White will reveal the adjustment, while black will block it. Zoom in on the eyes in the photo so they fill your workspace. 

5. Choose the brush tool from the left hand toolbar, adjust the brush size (top toolbar), and set the opacity to 100%. Set the foreground color to black (shortcut to do this is to press D, then X). Now click on the layer mask thumbnail in the layers palette and then begin painting over the eyes in the photo.

6. If you’ve coloured outside the "lines", you can fix it easily. Switch the foreground color back to white (press D then X), undo the colouring in the areas you want. In this photo I fixed some of the skin colour that was showing on the right eyelid.

7. You can set your zoom back to 100% (or fit screen) to see the result of the revealed eye colour.

8. As a final finishing touch, we’re going to add some graininess to the photo to make it look a bit more “vintage”. Under the “Filter” menu, choose “Noise” and then “Add Noise”. 

9. Set the noise amount between 3-5%, and make sure “Gaussian” and “Monochromatic” are checked.

That’s it – you’re done your photo editing - here is the final photo!
I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Please leave a comment and a link if you decide to give this a try!


  1. Thank you so much, Sarah, for sharing this informative tutorial!

  2. Thanks Sarah... I did it... not knowing PSE even though I hve it on my computer it was confusing.. but got it done. fun and fascinating. I printed your tut out to save for the future. again thanks.

  3. wow. wonderful. now i have no excuse anymore to avoid photoshop.... will try it next weekend! thanks a million!!!!

  4. I haven't done this is a really long time, forgotten how much I love this look! :)

  5. So neat! Wish I was brave enough to try photoshop! Maybe someday...