By adding a delicate tint of colour to the midtones of a black-and-white shot, you can easily change its mood. A cold wash of blue makes the image look more atmospheric, while a warm sepia tint recreates a retro romantic look. The trick to creating cyanotype or sepia-toned shots is to add a subtle tint while keeping the blacks black and the whites white. Here’s how to create these brilliant Photoshop effects using Elements.
How to add a colour tint to your photos
Step 1: Improve composition
Open your original image in Photoshop Elements. By removing the photo’s distracting colour, you can emphasise the shape and textures. Here wee grab the Crop tool, then click and drag to remove some of the edge detail. Making the jagged rocks more prominent also improves the composition.
Step 2: Make it mono
Go to Window>Layers to open the Layers palette. Choose Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Click OK to create the adjustment layer. This will enable you to remove the original colour information and tint the shot at the same time. Tick the Colorize box to add an instant monochrome tint to the photo.
Step 3: Tweak the hue
We want to give the scene a blue wash. To change the colour of the tint, drag the Hue slider to the right. A Hue of 56 would give you an effective sepia tone. A value of 202 creates a more traditional-looking cyanotype. This toning technique keeps the brightest whites and darkest shadows un-tinted.
Step 4: Desaturate the image
To reduce the blue tint in the landscape for more subtle effects, all you need to do is drag the Saturation slider left to a lower value of 10. Notice how the tint looks rather more delicate? You could tweak the Lightness slider to darken the washed-out shadows, but this will create under-exposed highlights.
Step 5: Improve contrast
Click on Create New Adjustment Layer at the bottom of the Layers palette, and choose Levels. Drag the black shadow input level slider to the right to darken the shadows without altering the correctly exposed highlights. A value of 28 will do the trick. You now have more dramatic contrast/textures.
Step 6: Add a vignette
Finally, darken the corners with a dramatic vignette. Click on the colour background layer and choose Filter>Correct Camera Distortion. Set Vignette Amount to -70 and push the Midpoint to +78. Click OK. The Hue/Saturation adjustment layer tints the vignetted corners a natural darker blue.