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Black And White Photos With a Touch of Color

Clover on Black and White Photo

Clover on Black and White Photo

I have seen pictures that are in black and white, and somewhere on the same picture there is an item that is in color. What do you call this ?

I see these pictures all over the place but I don't know what you call this. You may see a girl holding a rose. The girl is in black and white but the rose is red. How do you get this type of picture and what is it called?

Anonymous Contributor,


I love when questions lead to new learning tools. Thank you for this opportunity.

This effect is known as Black and White Partial Color Effect. I read this on so I am not certain if this is an official name. I've put a sample of this photo effect in here so that readers can see what I am talking about.

The effect is achieved using Layers in your photo editing software. I used Gimp to accomplish the effect in this picture.

This leads to why I love questions like this. I did a search to find what the effect is called. In my search I found a tutorial that makes the process very easy.

In summary you create a duplicate layer of your image. Make it gray scale. Then create a mask and reveal the color of the subject you want to stand out. Please visit (opens in new window) for complete step by step instructions.

The are many ways to achieve this method. In the above image I created a layer. Made the duplicate layer black and white. Then use the freeform selection tool to select and cut out the flower I wanted to show through in color.

Frankly the tutorial at is much easier and faster. You can look for a few more images in the near future. I used the practice sample in the tutorial and it is copyright image so I will have to share one of my own later.

Thank you again for your question.

If anyone has a special way of accomplishing this effect please post your comments.

Have fun,


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