How to Tint Black & White Pictures

Have you ever seen old black and white pictures that have been hand-colored? Before the days of color photography artists used to hand-color or tint photographs to give them a more realistic appearance.

You can usually tell which ones have had this treatment, they have a unique appearance much different than today's color photography. You can read about it here: Hand-Colouring of Photographs - Wikipedia.

I have two black and white cactus prints and I decided to try tinting them much like they would have back in the day. This was such a quick and easy process, I thought I'd share how you can try this technique yourself!

How to tint black and white pictures with pastels

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I purchased my black and white digital images from Sisi and Seb on Etsy.

They have such a great selection of both black and white and color prints. Once I received the digital files I had them printed 16" x 20". You can do this all on the FedEx website and then pick up your order at your local FedEx Office or have them shipped to you!

Here they are before tinting.

Black and white pictures before tinting

I thought it would give them a fun, vintage look to hand-tint them.

Supplies Needed

Oil pastels to tint a black and white picture

This process is so simple... you'll just very gently color the part of your picture you want to tint with the oil pastels. When I say very gently, I mean that... go as light as you possibly can... at least until you get the feel for it. You might want to practice first before trying this on your actual picture!

using pastels to tint a picture

Once you have a section colored then take the paper towel and rub over it. Press hard when you do this. Trust me, you will not get all the color out even if you want to!

This will blend in the color and make it look more natural.

using oil pastels to hand-color black and white pictures

Some of the colors will come off onto the paper towel but that will help blend it.

hand tinting black and white pictures

I only used two shades of green and a shade of pink for the flowers on my cactus prints.

tinting pictures with oil pastels

Here is the finished product.

I really like how this one turned out. I only tinted the large cactus in the front and left everything else black and white.

hand coloring pictures with oil pastels

tinted black and white print

Hand tinted black and white pictures

using pastel crayons to tint pictures

tinting black and white pictures

tinted picture

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How to tint black and white pictures with oil pastel crayons

It's easy to get a unique, vintage look by hand-tinting black and white prints!