30 stunning black and white photo colorizations

Many of you may have seen the huge crop of colorized old black and white photos popping up around the web (there are some wonderful subreddits devoted to it). The results can be truly stunning, and bring history to life in a new way.

For all you fans out there, here are 30 beautiful photo colorization examples:

1. Marilyn Monroe, 1957

Marylin Monroe black and white photo colorization

Photo by Richard Avedon, colorization by Mads Madsen

2. The Hindenburg Disaster, 1937

Hindenburg black and white photo colorization

US Navy photo, colorization by klassixx

3. Award-winning magazine writer Lois Mattox Miller

Lois Mattox Miller black and white photo colorization

Photo from the Smithisonian, colorization by crumblebeater

4. Elizabeth Taylor 1956

elizabeth taylor black and white photo colorization

Photo by Frank Worth colorization by malakon

5. Big Jay McNeely, 1953

jazz black and white photo colorization

Photo by Bob Willoughby/Redferns, colorization by traquea

6. Migrant Mother, 1936

Migrant mother Dorothea Lange black and white photo colorization

Photo by Dorthea Lange, Colorization by Vikki Hansen

7. Albert Einstien, 1951

Albert Einstein tongue black and white photo colorization

Photo by Arthur Sass, colorization by Mads Madsen

8. William Creger

family black and white photo colorization

codeflex, a talented 99er, was able to do this simple colorization in just under an hour on Swiftly!

9. The self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc

the self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc black and white photo colorization

Photography by Malcolm Brown, colorization by Sanna Dullaway

10. Family Photograph

family black and white photo colorization

Colorization by salsifufu

11. Old photograph 1933

black and white photo colorization

Colorization by photosfromfrance

12. Old wedding photograph

wedding photo black and white photo colorization

Colorization by Sanna Dullaway

13. Grete Reinwald, 1910

Grete Reinwald, c. 1910 black and white photo colorization

Colorization by salsifufu

14. V-J Day in Times Square

V-J Day in Times Square black and white photo colorization

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, colorization by Sanna Dullaway

15. High School Senior Portrait 1960

High School Senior Portrait 1960 black and white photo colorization

16. Civil Rights March 1963

civil rights black and white photo colorization

Photo by Warren K. Leffler, colorization by Oliver Witisen

17. Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn black and white photo colorization

Colorization by klassixx

18. Memorial for a Vietnamese girl

black and white photo colorization

Colorization by Sanna Dullaway

19. Nurse Hamaguchi, 1943

Ansel Adams black and white photo colorization

Photo by Ansel Adams, colorization by Zarziglu

20. Louis & Lucille Armstrong, Cairo, 1961

Louis Armstrong Cairo 1961 black and white photo colorization

New York Times photo, colorization by photojacker

21. Bride

bride black and white photo colorization

Family photo from lcedlightning, colorization by Azozel

22. US General Ambrose Burnside, 1865

US General Ambrose Burnside 1865 black and white photo colorization

Photo by Matthew Brady, colorization by Mads Madsden

23. Bikini Atoll Hydrogen Bomb Test, 1954

bikini atoll black and white photo colorization

U.S. military photo, colorization by Sanna Dullaway

24. Miss America 1924

Miss America 1924 black and white photo colorization

Photo from Underwood & Underwood/Corbis, colorization by malakon

25. Testing of a bullet-proof vest, 1923

Bulletproof vest testing black and white photo colorization

Photo from National Photo Company Collection, colorization by Mads Madsden

26. Unemployed lumber worker, 1939

Dorthea Lange black and white photo colorization

Photo by Dorothea Lange, colorization by Mads Madsen

27. Joseph Goebbels, 1933

goebbels scowling black and white photo colorization

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, colorization by Mads Madsen

28. Saratoga Springs New York, 1915

Saratoga Springs black and white photo colorization

Colorization by Sanna Dullaway

29. Wedding photo

wedding photo black and white photo colorization

Family photo from corona2016, colorization by cafea

30. Car Wreck in Washington D.C, 1921

Car wreck 1921 black and white photo colorization

Colorization by Sanna Dullaway

The ability to colorize a photo is a pretty nifty skill to have in your design arsenal and a fun hobby, not to mention a great present for your grandparents!

For those who’d would like to learn, here’s a link to a quick and easy Photoshop tutorial for simple colorizations. For those who’d like to make more advanced colorizations, here’s a link to a more detailed Photoshop step-by-step and video tutorial.

For better colorization results, it helps to start with higher quality black and white photos. The process itself can be time-consuming but is basically painting on colors with a brush in Photoshop. Though the original black and white photos have their charm, it’s really cool to see them in color, breathing new life into history.

Do you know of any more cool black and white photo colorizations? Have any tips for colorizing your own? Share in the comments!

Feature image: Sanna Dullaway

The author

Rebecca Creger
Rebecca Creger

Rebecca was born and raised in the Bay Area, where she currently lives. She has a BFA in Design with a Visual Communications emphasis from UC Davis. Her passions include travel, design, pasta, and hanging out with her Beagle, Spud.

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