Black and White with Color Accents


Black and white photos with color accents, or B&W-Color Hybrid as I’ve called to them, can make a photo stand out a bit.  I am sometimes asked, “how did you do that?”  It’s really not difficult in Photoshop and in a nutshell, here’s how I do it.  With the photo open, create a duplicate of the original.  Next, select the parts you want in color (i.e.; the red car above) and copy the red car to a new layer.  Next, change the duplicate layer of the original to black and white.  Lastly, merge the black and white layer with the red car layer, that’s it (delete the original color photo and “save as”).  While I like B&W-Color Hybrid photos, not everyone does.  I’ve noticed that a general audience likes these but photographers seem to frown on them, more on that in a minute…czech car

These photos were taken with the Canon EOS Rebel T3i.  The photo at right, Czech out that car!, was taken in Prague, Czech Republic in January of 2013 with the Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 lens, my ‘go-to’ lens for quite a while.  Walking with my family in downtown Prague, we spotted this car.  However, there were people looking at it so I waited until they were in a position where they could be cropped or edited out.  In my mind, this car seemed to naturally stick out against the stone building and the street.  Editing the photo as a B&W-Color Hybrid seemed a natural fit.


green dressNortheast of Naples, Italy is a little medieval city called Sant’Agata de’ Goti.  While there isn’t much in the way of actual attractions in Sant’Agata, the town is worth the trip.  Of the three main churches here, the newest is from the 13th century!  This photo, Green Dress, was taken with the T3i and Tamron 28-300mm lens.  While I liked the photo, it just didn’t work in color or black and white.  I played around with different parts and eventually came up with this, which made the green dress the focal point.  This worked better than the previous options, including filing in to oblivion on my hard drive!  😎

vespa          One day, on a ‘mom and pop day out,’ my wife and I came across this bright red Vespa sticking out in a herd of nondescript mopeds.  Yes, a herd, since Vespa means wasp in Italian, this could be a hive, but I like herd.  When I saw this Vespa I actually envisioned it like this, the red Vespa in the herd as a B&W-Color Hybrid.  This was one of the first times I used the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, also called the ‘nifty fifty.’  At first, I used this lens sparingly but was always amazed at its clarity.  When I head out to shoot I usually take 2-3 lenses with me, now the ‘nifty fifty’ 50mm is almost always the first lens I pack.  This lens is my first choice for low light situations and I’ve really come to love it!  Check out Matt Taylor’s Nifty Fifty: The Benefits of a Fixed 50mm Lens to learn more about fixed lenses vs. zoom lenses.

While I like the black and white color hybrid shots, it seems they may have been overused as other photographers seem to frown on them or are just tired of them.  Someone told me that you shouldn’t use this technique to “save” a photo that isn’t working.  I learned this after the Green Dress photo above.  I’ll continue to shoot these sparingly and only when I visualize this when taking the photo, as I did with the Little Red Vespa.  Like I said, general audiences like B&W-Color Hybrids but photographers, not so much.  The general audience also seems to purchase my photos; photographers, not so much…


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