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How to Colorize B&W Photos Using Paint.Net

Updated on July 11, 2011

Photos I Have Colorized with Paint.Net

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Jean HarlowAva GardnerDorothy MaloneJean HarlowJoan Crawford
Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow
Ava Gardner
Ava Gardner
Dorothy Malone
Dorothy Malone
Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow
Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford


How to Colorize B&W Photos Using Paint.Net

It's easy. it's simple, it's fun.
When I wanted to learn how to colorize B&W photos, I wondered what sort of
photo editing program I needed - I already had Paint.Net, as well as 4 or 5 other
programs.....I wondered what sort of program I needed to buy.

Then I suddenly realized that "it can't be that difficult!"

The good news: it isn't!

How to colorize with
Open and open the photo you want to colorize.
Go to the top toolbar and click on "Layers," then "Add New Layer," from the
drop-down menu.
Use whatever colors you want on the layer - you can use multiple colors.
You do not have to color around edges, apply the color all over the object (when
you do a person's face, apply the skin color all over the face - it will look okay
when you're done, because you're creating a translucent layer).
When you are done with that layer, click on "Layers" again, then select "Layer
Properties" from the drop-down menu. Note: for realistic skin tones, I almost
always select "Overlay" as the mode, as it looks very natural. Use the slider to
adjust the saturation.
Add layers as necessary.
When you're done, you will need to flatten the image to compress the layers,
but will do that for you.
I usually save my photos as a jpeg file.
Viola! Your colorized photo is now complete.


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    • simonebell profile image

      simonebell 8 years ago

      Yes there is Photoshop, but Photoshop is a much more complicated program, and it isn't free! is for beginners, who want to learn colorizing with an easy, accessible program. Thanks for your comment.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Thank you for the great information! Love to play with photos!

    • mywebdesignguide profile image

      mywebdesignguide 8 years ago from Cairo

      It sure seems like a nice tool, but I use Photoshop because it gives you a lot more options.

    • simonebell profile image

      simonebell 8 years ago

      Good points, WildIris! Thanks

    • profile image

      WildIris 8 years ago

      What a fantastic tool!!! I am glad to have "Hopped" onto this article. I did not know about Paint.Net. Moreover, it is a freebie that comes with accolades from PC World and CNET.