colorized photography
colorized photography

Travel through time: Colorizing black and white photography

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Dig into the bottom of your desk drawers or rifle through boxes in your attic, and you’re sure to find a bunch of black-and-white photos from the last century. Imagine them sitting there – sad, forgotten, and slowly gathering more dust by the day. Don’t you think it’s time to give your old photos a new lease on life?

A splash of color can make a huge difference to a photo or video – making it somehow more relatable, tangible and seemingly more recent. Colorizing photos is a process that’s been around for a while, but it’s really taken off in the last few years.

With the help of photo editing software, you can bring beloved photos of family and friends back to life. Thanks to photo colorization, you can now look at snapshots of relatives you’ve never had the chance to meet and imagine what it would have been like to be in the same room as them.

It’s easy to distance ourselves from the scenarios that take place in black and white photos. If you were to see color images of historical milestones such as World Wars I and II or the introduction of women’s suffrage, it might change the way you perceive those moments in time. Stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and James Dean were preserved in grayscale during their heyday.

When we close our eyes and imagine celebrities from the early twentieth century, we see a grainy black-and-white image staring back at us, like that iconic photo of Marilyn Monroe standing over a New York subway grate. With the recent popularity of colorizing images, it’s now possible to see how these celebrities/moments in time would have looked had we actually been there to witness them.

How easy is it to colorize photos?

Colorizing photos is not as difficult as you might think. You can do it yourself with the help of easy-to-use photo editing software. However, photo colorizing requires a lot of time and patience. First, you’ll need to choose a suitable photo to enhance – perhaps it’s a rare image, one with historical value, or just an amusing image that you think would be more interesting in color. This YouTube tutorial from the Photoshop Video Academy provides a helpful step-by-step guide to colorizing images in Photoshop.

If you don’t have the time to colorize photos yourself, why not hire a professional? Many people make a living by colorizing black-and-white photos. Of course, the cost varies depending on the size and complexity of the original image.

Marina Amaral is a Brazilian colorist who has recently become known for her incredible work. She takes great care when it comes to enhancing and colorizing images. In fact, colorizing photos is not as simple as adding a little color to the image, as there are so many elements that come into play.

Marina can spend several months colorizing just one image. She takes the time to research the event and analyze each object so that she can accurately capture that moment in time. Her impressive portfolio is full of stunning images. Take a look at her website and discover colorized photos of Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, King George V, and other historical figures.

Researchers at the University of California have recently developed new software that can colorize a black-and-white image. This innovative algorithm has a bank of over a million color images stored on its hard drive; based on this knowledge, it can scan through its extensive memory and select the most plausible shades to colorize an image. This software isn’t necessarily accurate, but it is incredibly smart. It also requires absolutely no work on your part – all you have to do is provide a URL of the black-and-white image and the software does the rest.

Colorizing photographs is something that can satisfy the desire many people have to experience history firsthand. Whichever way you choose to colorize your treasured photos, it’s certainly worth it. Don’t you think that picture of your great-grandparents’ wedding would look even better in color?

You’ll be able to see the blush in your great-grandmother’s cheeks as her husband kisses her on the happiest day of her life. This creative process can bring people a little closer to the unattainable desire of stepping into a time machine and whizzing back to another century.

Those interested in this topic can quench their thirst for colorized photography with these two subreddits dedicated to colorizing black-and-white photographs and high-quality colorization of historical black-and-white images and discussions of a historical nature.

Finally, a book recommendation*: Check out this collection of over 200 colorized photos originally taken in black and white by Dorothea Lange in the United States between 1935 and 1939. Click on the image below to check out the book on Amazon:

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