Tag Archives: black and white photography

“Spot coloring”

.. is the term for coloring just a few parts of an image, to add emphasis, focus attention. Used wisely, it is very effective. But always remember the old design saying ‘less is more’,  don’t beat viewers over the head, let them look and think a bit, and meet you half way.

I have only used it once as i remember, on this one, a selenium toned print. I hit all three ( yes, three!) moons w/ color. The Jefferson Memorial is just below dead center, T. Jefferson got a splash of color, and the lion to his right ( i really like this dude, DC needs someone screaming roaring and growling! And he is the most colorful spot in the whole image). And a few details on the reflections in the Tidal Pool.


BTW, if you like B&W darkroom montage work, here’s my blog about that:


An old friend of mine who lives back east does spot coloring very well.

Here’s a few of his images:







I am not sure which ones are done manually on silver prints, or on digital images. No matter, the thought and techniques are much the same.

It’s about finding a focal point. Manually? get out cotton balls and Q tips… 

Digitally? make selections masks and use Hue/Sat.,  or Selective Color layers.

One thing i have taken to doing after scanning B&W prints, is  doing some digital color for just large areas, printing them out on cheap copy paper, and doing colored pencils for the rest, just to see what i could do. Planning, testing. Good fun. I am continuing on….

PS 1/14 – If you’d like to see more of my good friends work:



There’s no ‘handcolored’ section, they’re scattered all over, but he has done lots of excellent work for decades so the search might not be a wild goose chase, so to speak 🙂