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Restoring colour to Black and white images (1 Viewer)


David Flack
Hello - On my recent trip to Sri Lanka I spent the morning on Harbarama lake and captured some photos of stunning birds. However, my Pentax K7 had some how switched to Black & White without me realising. Is anyone aware of a process for restoring colour information to JPEG's that have been recorded using the B&W digital filter. I have Photoshop CS5 -any suggestions gratefully received!
Since this incident I have learnt my lesson and only record images in RAW to gain full control in post processing.


Well-known member
The Jpeg and filter may have made it impossible to salvage . Here is a link for the process in raw . Some cameras always save a smaller file in color .



Ecology Student
Hi David

I very much doubt that your going to able to convert B&W photos into colour using Photoshop. At the very best I think your only going to be able to apply a tint of one colour to the whole image which isn't really gunna help things.

Of course there is one other option....

Duplicate layer and paint on each individual colour as you determine then on a separate mask layer :D good luck with that...

That was a pinical moment in photography for you however, now you'll notice you start looking at your camera from time to time making sure it's still in AV or whatever mode you use.

I know it was for me when I switched to fully auto and the flash popped up just as I was trying to photograph a buzzard in the grass, need-less to say by the time everything was reverted back it had been and gone.



Well-known member
I'm sorry but I have to agree. the process cant even be reversed in the camera, once the filter is applied your stuck with the effect. At least you cant make the same mistake shooting RAW as the camera cant apply filters during capture.

As for mistakes I spent an entire long weekend in Prague wondering why my istD was producing images with a blue cast, only on the last day did the penny finally drop and I realised I'd managed to switch from AWB to Tungsten.


Well-known member
Lessons learned can sometimes be painful, but all is not lost, my friend. It really depends upon how much the images mean to you, but if you're willing to "go the mile" you can indeed have your color back, although in a somewhat different fashion. Your JPG was shot with a panchromatic rendering, so you can use the tri-color method of making full, true color from black and white. I used to do it with sheet film, it was fascinating. It will take a bit of experimenting and tweaking, however, something you can easily do in PS. Before you do anything else, save the images as TIF, so you will have your original JPG and also a TIF. Every time you perform an action in PS with a JPG it degrades it slightly. If you want the fineest sharpness you can have, then it needs to be in a lossless format for manipulation.

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