Photography Article Background

Photoshop Selective Colour

Selective Colour From a Wikipedia Point of View:

Selective colour – is a post-processing technique where most of a photo is converted to black and white, but some parts are left in color. This is usually achieved by using layers and masks in photo editing software (Photoshop, SilverFast, Adobe Fireworks or The GIMP for example).

Why Selective Colour?

Selective Colouring is another simple technique in our toolbox to use to help define a focus point in an image. By creating a monotone image and then having only your subject in colour, a persons eye immediately draws to the colour. If you’re image is cluttered, confusing, or just lacking that extra POP, then try using selective colouring. Lately it has been a very popular technique in portraiture where eye, lips, or clothing is in colour and also used in landscape photography where leaves, or foliage may be in colour.

Selective colour before image.


Ok, let’s get on with it! Here is how you make your images POP using selective colouring!

What You Need:

  1. Digital Colour Image
  2. Photoshop
  3. Coffee to keep creative juice flowing 😉


  1. Open Photoshop and load your image.
  2. Top Menu Bar –> Select –> Colour Range
  3. A small dialogue box will appear. Simply ignore this for now. Move your curser over the colour you wish to keep, and click. Now goto the dialogue box and adjust the “fuzziness” slider. The further to the right you drag it, the larger the range of that colour it will select.
  4. Close Dialogue Box.
  5. Top Menu Bar –> Select –> Inverse
  6. Top Menu Bar –> Image –> Adjustment –> Desaturate.
Colour Range Dialogue Box

Colour Range Dialogue Box

You could go further and edit your black and white background, or start over and have selective colouring of more than one colour. For example I could have gone with the yellow field, and also the blue sky.


Selective Colour Example in Photoshop



Selective Colouring has a large potential… try taking HDR images such as the one above and use selective colouring on it! Or try having colour only in the background, or just the foreground! The options are endless!

Other Spectacular Examples Of Selective Colouring:

  • pxleyes – 50 Outstanding Examples of Selective Colour Photography
  • Andy Sowards – 21 Selective color desaturation with creative…(Photo collections)
  • Flickr Group
  • Photoble – 20 Stunning Photos Using Selective Color Technique
  • Ready Photo Site – Photo Showcase
Rule of Thirds Photography Article End

2 responses to “Photoshop Selective Colour”

  1. […] guys, here's a quick article on how to make an image POP using the selective colouring technique: Make Images P-O-P Using Selective Colour! | Rule of Thirds Photography __________________ […]

  2. Andy Sowards says:

    Hey nice quick tutorial on selective coloring! – Thanks for linking to my post as well!

    Appreciate it!

Leave a Reply