While colorization of photos is generally done with programs like Photoshop, did you know you can also obtain good results in Lightroom? You can learn more about colorization in this 21-minute video by Tutvid.

Now you might ask, If Photoshop is so versatile and powerful, why bother using Lightroom? Well, the video will allow you to assess the capabilities of lightroom and what you can do with its powerful features. 

By harnessing the power of adjustment brushes and non-destructive editing in lightroom, anyone can fill lifelike colors to their images. Use the sliders to adjust the tonal shifts you have applied to the image after selecting the different colors to paint onto it.

Overpainted something? Your brush should be set to “Erase” and your auto mask should be “On”. After a color has bled onto the edge, you will need to paint over it. You won’t have to worry about finding the edges and keeping everything neat in Lightroom.

Beginners should take the following into account:

1. Create a Copy of Your Original Image

It’s important to create a virtual copy of the original image before you begin the process. Although you make non-destructive edits to a file, it is helpful to have the original file as a reference and a backup in case you decide you are not satisfied with your edits. Copying an image is as simple as selecting it, right-clicking, and selecting “Create Virtual Copy”.

2. Use Auto Mask appropriately 

Apply the color swatch to the adjustment brush in Lightroom to bring your colors out. The Right-Hand panel of Lightroom allows you to adjust every brush stroke’s brightness, contrast, and clarity using corresponding sliders. An “Auto Mask” option is also included in the adjustment brush menu. Whenever planning to colorize black and white photos, you’ll want to make sure that Auto Mask is off; it’s limited and can sometimes prove to be detrimental when working with them.

3. Use Pins to Separate Adjacent Elements.

Do not use the same adjustment brush layer for all your changes. When working with different colors or touching up separate segments of an image, select “New” from the adjustment brush panel instead. A specified pinned area can then be changed in exposure, and in contrast.

4. Pay Extra Care to Edges

Don’t let your colors bleed over hard edges when you are coloring an image. For similar color transitions, use a feathered brush. Take a closer look at your shot by zooming in on it.

5. Zoom in On the Edge of the Frame. 

In case of an error, don’t worry about it. An eraser can be easily made from your brush. To make the cleanup process a bit easier in this case, you may turn on Lightroom’s Auto Mask option temporarily.

6. Utilize Multiple Shades of the Same Color

Maintaining the semblance of realism requires the use of layers. You should paint your specific area in shades lighter and darker than your base color. The photograph will appear to have depth if there are shadows and highlights.

7. Learn Shortcuts

You can effectively reduce the amount of time you spend editing by using shortcuts. This tutorial covers the following points:

  • Holding down ALT or OPTION while using a brush can temporarily convert it to an eraser
  • By holding down SHIFT between clicks, you can erase a perfectly straight line between two points
  • Setting brush sizes with bracket keys ( [ and ] )
  • By right-clicking a brush layer’s associated pin icon, you can duplicate it

8. Reflections Should be Included

Think about how elements within an image might interact with one another and pay attention to the content of your image. Small touches enhance the appeal of a scene, even if they are not immediately evident. For example, Dodson adds a low-opacity purple color to his landscape after considering how the blue sky might reflect off of the red rocks. Despite initially seeming like a conflict, it is ultimately harmonious.

9. Make Sure You Apply Any Necessary Overall Adjustments 

Be sure to make any necessary general adjustments as soon as your local adjustments are completed. Color shifts and tonal adjustments can help tie together a photograph as a whole and enhance its mood.


Above are all the ways to restore old photos in the lightroom. However, if you don’t have any experience with PS, you can use online tools to restore old photos such as Image Colorizer, Hotpotai, lunapic, etc. 

However, the first priority will always be Photoshop or lightroom. But these online tools can save your ass and time as well. 

You can also consider reading this: Make Selfies with Dorian Rossini using Photoshop

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