How to Create Artistic Monochromatic Photo in Photoshop

Editing photos in Photoshop is not what I usually do, but recently I needed to create a bunch of monochromatic (like black and white but “colorized”) photos. My idea was to print them and create a photo album.

Here is what this post explains.

How to get this

from this

 1. Crop

Most print photo formats exist in one of the fixed sizes like 15 x 10 cm and you need to make sure your photo will fit perfectly. This photo was bit wider so I had to use the “Rectangular Marque Tool” (M) to select the proper aspect ratio.

Just enter the aspect ratio you need (in my case it was 17.5×12.5 cm so I used 175×125), select the part of the image you think is the most important and then use Image -> Crop from the menu.

2. Black and white and Colorize

After that adjust the levels (or just use Auto Levels) with the Image -> Adjustments -> Levels (Ctrl-L) tool.

Time to convert the image to black and white and the easiest way to do this is to use Image -> Adjustments -> Hue/Saturation (Ctrl РU) tool and slide the Saturation to 0.

After that invoke the same tool again with Ctrl – U, check “Colorize” box and enter values 22 and 22 for Hue and Saturation. That is what I use to get this dynamic look. You can play with other values of Hue to get the desired result.

3. Apply Brush stroke filter

I discovered that Brush Stroke, particularly Angled Stroke, works great with these kind of images. You’ll find it at Filters -> Brush Strokes -> Angled Strokes.

The values I typically use are Direction balance around 30 (feel free to change), Stroke Length 3, and Sharpness between 2 and 4.

This enhances the edges, gives the image a cool look and irons any noise coming from the low resolution of the shot.

4. Add “nostalgia” effect

This is the dark outline that gives the image that cool, worn kind of look.


Select -> All

Select -> Modify -> Border. Use a value of around 50 px (depends on the size of the picture, the larger the resolution the more pixels you need).

Select -> Modify -> Feather. Use a value of around 30.

Image -> Adjustments -> Curves. Click on the line in the middle and drag it to the bottom.

And that’s it.

Just for comparison here is the same photo made with just Black and White tool and the one that went through the whole process so you can decide which do you like better.


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