How to make a black and white photo with a color accent.

Learn more about the color splash technique, plus a step-by-step guide on how to make a color stand out against black and white photography.

The color splash technique, also known as selective color, instantly makes any object more striking when set against a black and white background. This technique can really draw in your viewer’s eye, and can even serve to tell a story. You can apply this simple technique to create a colorful force within your photos.

How to make one color stand out.

You can create this effect with any photo, using a photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. In Photoshop, the steps are:

  1. Duplicate the layer. Open your desired photo in Photoshop and duplicate the layer. This is as simple as right-clicking on your layer and selecting “Duplicate Layer.”
  2. Desaturate your original layer. This means you’ll turn your original layer into a grayscale image. To do this, press Command + Shift + U on a Mac or CTRL + Shift + U in Windows.
  3. Choose your accent color. Switch to your duplicate layer now. From the drop-down menu, tap “Select,” then “Color Range” to open the Color Range Box. Select the eyedropper icon with the plus sign — you’ll use this tool to select various shades of the color you want to highlight. Click your desired object in multiple areas to add a range of colors.
  4. Invert your selection. Once you invert, Photoshop will select everything except the color you’ve highlighted. To do this, press Command + Shift + I on a Mac, or CTRL + Shift + I in Windows. After that, you can simply delete the selected portion of your photo, and you’ll be left with your color accent photo.

If any areas remain that you want to touch up, the eraser is a great tool for this task. It may take a few practice runs to get the technique just right, but it’s a fun skill to have in your photographic repertoire.

Discover even more photo tips as you begin to experiment with various techniques.

Explore everything you can do with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.