It’s Not Always Black and White: How to Turn B&W Photos Into Full Color Images

If you haven’t done your research, I bet you had no idea that digital cameras actually only take black and white shots. What your camera actually does is collect light intensity, recording a light level for each individual pixel ranging from 0 to 255. But how exactly does the actual photo become the colored masterpiece you see on your display? A processing technique filters each pixel with a red, green or blue filter which lets the camera know how much of each color is in any given pixel. Don’t believe me? There’s a simple and fun DIY to test the fact.

Strap your camera to a steady surface, a tripod is the best choice, and take three separate black and white shots of a single subject, but in each shot use a different colored filter. You can use any sort of clear colored wrap, including hard candy wrappers. Taking these three shots encodes the color information in your black and white photos. Using Photoshop or any image editing program that lets you work with color channels you can recombine the photos to create one colored photograph. Photojojo has a full step-by-step guide on how to combine your pictures and you can get as specific or abstract as you’d like.

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