Today I am going to teach you a technique I am very fond of. Often you see things in pictures that you would like to highlight and make a focal point. Sometimes it is because the background is distracting, sometimes it is because you just want to make a statement, if so then this technique is for you!
So what we need to do first is decide what we would like to keep in colour and what needs to become B&W (or tinted)
In this instance I am using this stunning photograph by Alana Fay Photography to show you how effective this technique can be.
If I were going to scrap this photograph, I would want to highlight the ladybug. In this image, the ladybug is already the focal point, but I just wanted to show you not only how beautiful this technique is but also how by separating the colours in this instance you can bring focus to BOTH compositions in the photo by creating negative space and allowing somewhere for your eye to rest.
So, I have decided the ladybug will be full colour and the little boy in the picture will become B&W or sepia (I’ll show you both) .
Step 1 is to open the picture you would like to use in Photoshop (most PS versions will be able to do this technique including Elements.)
Next I am going to use my quick selection tool located here:
Using the quick selection tool you will need to select the item you want to keep in colour, in this case the ladybug by clicking on it until the whole of it is selected, if you need to shrink the area back because you’ve gone too far out just press the option key to deselect areas. Once it is selected it will look like this.
Now you need to go to the “Select” tab at the top, click on it and select inverse, this will select everything EXCEPT the ladybug but it will still show the dots around the ladybug as well as the background.
It will now look like this:
Now got to the “Image” tab and click it and select Adjustments and Black & White,
this will turn the selected background B&W (if you do not select the inverse, it will turn the ladybug B&W instead) and it will bring up the Black and White Selection Box.
If you wish for the background to be any colour at all, you can adjust it with the colour sliders, or if you want a tint (in this case brown for sepia) you will need to click the little box next to the word Tint.
This automatically brings up a sepia tone, or you can change it by clicking on the little coloured box and selecting any colour you wish. I am going to select aqua just as an example.
Now you will click O.K. to select your chosen colour, but I am going to press cancel to go back to the nice sepia tone…..I don’t fancy my boys in aqua!
Now deselect (on a Mac you can do this by pressing Command D and voila! Your new picture! This is how it looks in Sepia:
And in B&W!
See how by separating the colours your eye rests on the red, focusing on the ladybug, but then gets “curious” about the B&W or sepia and rests on the background instead? This way you bring focus to both subjects in the picture.