Mono photographs colourised in Photoshop
I started learning to colourise old photographs a few years ago when I joined one of the best Photoshop / creative sites on the internet – Worth1000.com. The standard was extremely high, many of the competiters worked in the industry for big names and were using the site for recreation. The knowledge sharing though was incredible, so I learnt a huge amount on this site and got a taste for Photoshop.
Initially I just watched and learnt, and took notes from the discussions in the forums until I felt confident enough. Then I entered my first competition, won the top spot and got my first gold medal out of 147 other entries! After this I entered many more competitions against some of the best colourisers on the site, and many of my entries were in the top three positions, but quite a few made it into first place.
Each one takes about 15-30 hours to complete, which may include research of the era and clothing and often restoring the original before even starting. After the preliminary work is done, I create seperate masks for all the elements and then airbrush the colour using a variety of blending modes and many techniques. Every image needs a different approach. Click for full view ;-)
Images from left to right:
Hildegard Knef (1954 film Svengali), The Wanderer by John Malcolm, Bela Lugosi, Rita Hayworth, James Cagney (1936 film Ceiling Zero),
Frank Sinatra, Gene Tierny, Hot Rod, Ava Gardner.
All photographs from film courtesy of