Color Highlighting on a Black and White photo using Gimp

Color Highlighting
Turn your photo from This ……..this using Gimp!!!

Many people have asked how I do color highlighting on my photographs. I have made a video tutorial for you to help you learn how to create those color highlights on your black and white photographs using a free program from Gimp. Many people are under the impression that you have to have some big, fancy program like photoshop to create crazy, beautiful photographs but that simply is not true. All you have to know how to do is work with what you got and all I got is a free program. Please don’t be under the false impression that if you spend a lot of money on a photography program that your photos will automatically become fabulous, the program doesn’t make the photos the artist makes the photos. I hope to create a handful of videos that will help you create fabulous looking photos with a program that is free instead of with some expensive program that none of us will ever own.

Here are the steps to creating color highlights in a black and white photograph.
1. Open image in Gimp.
2. Select layers>new layer>white
3. Select Fill Bucket> Black> click white layer on photograph to fill in white with black.
4. Select Mode on layers drop down list on the left hand side> choose Color which creates the black and white effect.
5. Select eraser> choose brush size by double clicking eraser> start erasing part that you want to stay in color
6. Select Image> Flatten Image
7. Save file.

If you would like to see more video tutorials on anything from photography to makeup to household duties, whatever you want a video explanation of all you have to do is either send me an email (thedomesticdiva at gmail dot com) or leave a question in the comment section of this post and I will try to get a video made for you.

If you use this tutorial make sure you come back and leave a link to the photograph that you created color highlights on so that we can all go check out your work. I would love to see how you guys use this tutorial and make it your own.

The Domestic Diva

Heather is a homeschooling mom of two boys currently living in central Georgia. She has been sharing her domestic story online as a blogger for 13 years. Through her blog and social media platforms, Heather provides a glimpse into domestic life as she shares with other stay-at-home moms how she tackles modern homemaking with the challenges of raising a family.


  1. July 26, 2008 / 7:59 am

    Oh, I love tutorials! I have always wanted to know how to do this. I have CS3 but I assume it works the same way??

  2. Me
    July 26, 2008 / 8:37 am

    We always post the same stuff. I wrote on my blog like 4 days ago stating id do a walkthrough of photoshop elements.. and then saw this :-) To funny. Love gimp. Its great for graphics 2.

  3. Linda
    July 26, 2008 / 8:15 pm

    Thanks so much!! Following your instructions, I just tried this on a photo and it worked great.

  4. July 26, 2008 / 11:16 pm

    THANKS! I really wanted to figure this out! Thanks for the step by step instructions not only on the video but written as well. I DID IT!!!! ;-) SOrta, my eraser stopped working halfway through and I gave up.
    OFF to bed! ;-)
    [I watched balls of fury after chatting online with a friend till almost 3. SO I WENT TO BED AT 4 something] {…} getting back up this morning at 9:15 to a WARM can guess the rest of the day. 103 temp on Terri = sleepy baby and time for mom too clean!!! YES baby slept and I cleaned NOT slept. I deserve a metal!

  5. July 30, 2008 / 8:38 am

    I have gimp but haven’t had very much time to explore it. So these tutorials really help with the learning curve.

  6. August 24, 2008 / 5:06 am

    I tried everything you implyed but it didn’t work for me very well. My picture didn’t stay one color in one area and the rest black and white. Just stayed as colored from the start. I notice up in the instructions up there. You didn’t imply how to turn it black and white. The last direction you gave about flattening the image, lost me on it. Is there any possible way you could print screen every instruction up there?

  7. amy
    October 8, 2008 / 5:40 pm

    Hi, thanks for that it was cool. I was wondering if there is a web site for adding people to another photo. i was really ill on my sisters wedding and didnt get to go and i would like to add myself in the photo. shes upset that i wasnt in the wedding pictures. can you please help me… thanks amy

  8. heather
    October 9, 2008 / 3:22 pm

    hey i could not get my photo to turn black and white. i opened a file then i followed your steps i added a layer(white) that worked then i filled it in black that worked but then i highlighted the black to make sure that it was the one i was working on and clicked color and then the screen and it only stayed black please help me… i know i screwed up somewhere do you have GIMP 2 because mine looks diff from your. i really wanna achieve this so please write back or write me on myspace would be better my url is proudmommyhappywifey thats please write soon im going out of my mind tryin to figure this out ps thanks for everything -Heather

  9. Courtnee
    October 12, 2008 / 12:08 am

    i’m having a little of the same problem as heather. i seem to have a different version of gimp. maybe a newer version as i just downloaded it a few days ago. do you know if there are two different versions because the toolbox is a bit different from yours. thanks!

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