How-to: Colorizing Old Photos in Lightroom 4

Posted by on March 7th, 2013

Theodore Roosevelt in ColorLately I’ve been really impressed by the work of Sanna Dullaway who is taking iconic photos from the early days of photography and bringing them vividly to life through colorization. You can see some of Sanna’s best work in this gallery. I love this approach not only to updating old photos but also for adding a vintage look to modern photos.

In fact, I used this technique to process the photo I’m currently using as a profile picture. Achieving the effect takes a little time but is fairly simple. First I desaturated the RAW file and then colored in the photo just like I would with a photo that was originally taken in black and white.

I’ve made a quick screencast of the process using a photo of Theodore Roosevelt. The whole thing clocks in around 11 minutes and breaks down the process step-by-step. The actual colorization of the Roosevelt photo took me around an hour.

Leave a Reply