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Being selective is a quality that every human being possesses…but ever heard of being selective in a photograph? Yes folks, this is a concept that I am sure every graphic designer will want to master. Selective color photography is an innovative technique in graphic design used to turn an image into black and white while leaving certain objects in their original color.

The trick used in this is to select the areas you want to preserve the colors, inverse the selection and use the ‘desaturate tool’ to turn the image into a black and color photo. The idea being this is to capture via photography the prominent objects in a photo.

Here are 30 stunning examples of selective color photography. Experience the magic with these mesmerizing images.


Red Rose



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Apple Girl

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Pink Flowers

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Red Shoes

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Blue Star

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Skittles, Scream

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I love Music

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Sweet cherry

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Neve a Milano

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Tiger Lily

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Jacobs Field

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Play Mats

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On The Spot

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Colour my life

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Teotihuacan Pyramids

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Lucy of Loch Ard

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Colorful hats

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Rainbow umbrella

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Life’s a Bucket of Paint

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Surrounded by Roses

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Une coccinelle des montagnes

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Colors of life

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Cafe con crema

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crab in hand

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Which color displayed the best selection of colors?

Author Charlie B. Johnson

has written Posts 388 .

  1. Color generator On July 21st, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Wow, great pictures!

  1. Arshad Cini On July 22nd, 2010 at 5:15 am

    woow great examples..
    Thank you:)

  1. Kethy Jewel On July 22nd, 2010 at 5:16 am

    nice post

  1. almomani88 On July 22nd, 2010 at 7:23 am

    i love that kind of pic’s thanxs

  1. Naveen On July 22nd, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Definitely Red Rose…simple and attractive

  1. Adriana On July 22nd, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Great selective color photography! I think red displayed the best selection of colors.

  1. Tomi Leap On July 22nd, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I love the music~. Fantastic.

  1. Nick Burd On July 22nd, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I love this. its so great.

    I did one with a rose, its pink. :D

    So pretty.

  1. Alice On July 22nd, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Oh wow. You’ve used one of my pictures (the ‘Colour my Life’ one) I’m extremely flattered that you’ve considered it one of your ’30 stunning examples of selective color photography’
    Thank you very much indeed! :)

  1. Neil Gains On July 22nd, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Fantastic pictures – loved theTeotihuacan Pyramids and colorful hats, but they are all great. Thanks for sharing.

  1. Raelin On July 23rd, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Hard to choose my favorite :( Attraction, red shoes, blue star, Jacob’s field, color my life, Teotihuacan Pyramids, bubbles, life’s a bucket of paint and crab in hand. Red seems to be favorite color to use.

  1. Renzo On July 23rd, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Great collection!

  1. Magento Support On July 23rd, 2010 at 9:58 am

    These are stunning indeed. Thanks for sharing them! Truly it makes you appreciate colors even more when shown like this.

  1. Ben On July 23rd, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Awesome images – Cafe con crema has to be my fav . . .

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    [...] the rest here: 30 Stunning Selective Color Photography – Color the Colorless … Share and [...]

  1. ajir On July 24th, 2010 at 1:51 am

    awesome collection..thanks for sharing this :)

  1. 17

    [...] Un peu de couleur: 30 Stunning Selective Color Photography – Color the Colorless! [...]

  1. matin On July 24th, 2010 at 1:20 pm


  1. lelo On July 24th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    omg ! lovelyyyyyyyyyyyyy XD im crazy about graphicssssssss

  1. Gemma On July 25th, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Great stuff! I probably will end up using this technique in my college assignments this year.

  1. personal injury lawyer MA On July 25th, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Nice work buddy!

  1. mirela On July 28th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Red Shoes, Play mats, Rainbow umbrella, Une coccinelle des montagnes, Colors of life were the best selections of colors.

  1. Nick Jones On July 29th, 2010 at 3:19 am


    I am a graphic designer myself and simply loved these 30 concepts posted here…

    So much to learn in this industry, every new day

    Nick Jones

  1. smita On July 29th, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Simply superb….Surrounded by roses is the cutest of all :) :)


  1. Nicola Hill On July 30th, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Red shoes is the best one for me overall the pics are excellent. Cool colors relevant to the design

  1. Jonathan On July 30th, 2010 at 8:59 am

    ‘Life’s a bucket of joy’ is well cool

  1. 27

    [...] Design Blog has published what they are calling “30 stunning selective color photography“, I’m not so sure any of them are stunning so I’m asking you guys to show me, if [...]

  1. clark On July 30th, 2010 at 10:23 am

    there is nothing stunning about these pictures, there are not ugly pictures… but stunning is a STREEEEEEEEEETCHHH :)

  1. Ningaloo (Flickr) On July 30th, 2010 at 10:25 am

    More than happy to see my play mats shot included here. You would think that it would be a fairly straightforward process colouring in those large areas but working around the toys and the edges took ages!

    I’m new to selective colouring and my collection so far isn’t that big.

  1. Travis On July 30th, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I don’t know, I think this was cool for like a month in 2002

  1. Nick On July 30th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I think I threw up in my mouth a little just now. These are horrible. ESPECIALLY the one with the skittles. that one is just poorly done. But seriously, selective colour is one of the tackiest trends in the history of photography. It rarely looks good and instantly dates a photo.

  1. Chris On July 30th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Selective color is gross

  1. Amanda On July 30th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    this is absolutely stunning, something i would hope to master!! thank you so much

  1. printing press On July 31st, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Superb images, and you can even get a similar effect using an iphone app now!!

  1. Louise Bellin On July 31st, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Thanks for showcasing my image: Lucy of Loch Ard. Flattered you Selected it. Thanks Louise Bellin

  1. amureki On July 31st, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Maaan, that’s awesome! Really…

  1. jp esward On August 2nd, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Nice work is it by photoshop Or any other tool?

  1. 509 Media On August 2nd, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Great collection. I have been messing around with the Color Splash app on my iPhone. Something fun to do while waiting around.

  1. Adam Sturm On August 3rd, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I’ve never particularly liked spot coloring.

  1. Designer Adriana On August 10th, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    My favourite is Blue star… what a great effect!

  1. Emmanuel Signorino On August 11th, 2010 at 8:29 am

    cool pics

  1. basukisolo On August 15th, 2010 at 1:00 am

    ow.. nice..

  1. Michael Shandro On August 25th, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I am not impressed. The selective colouring is distracting in the pictures and does not seem to add anything to them. Also, as has been mentioned before, they are not stunning images.

    My suggestion to people is, if you feel that you must use this technique, at least lower the opacity of the colour in the images so that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb against the black and white.

    Yes, when I first opened Photoshop I did a few images in selective colour, thinking that this was what clients wanted. Since then I have learned that solid imagery is what will make a photograph stunning. We don’t need tricks like selective colouring to save the day.

  1. Graphic Chick Brisbane On August 27th, 2010 at 1:01 am

    These are awesome mate. You should be very proud of yourself!

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  1. adnan zubair On September 15th, 2010 at 5:17 am

    awesomeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee & cuteeeeeeeeeeeee !!!!

  1. Marc On September 25th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Great collection. I have been messing around with the Color Splash app on my iPhone. Something fun to do while waiting around. Very Thanks

  1. peta holland kelly On November 6th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    luverly – i have been trying to figure out how to do this in PSE 8 – anyone know how? ;-)

  1. graphics designer Chennai On November 10th, 2010 at 4:50 am

    awesome images

  1. On December 1st, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    very nice photos!

  1. Kate On August 12th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    A beautiful collection of photographic colors! This is a great way to feature both the color and the black and white despite being about the color. Cafe con Crema, Colour my Life, Attraction, and Apple Girl are perfect examples.

  1. crestor cardiomyopathy On September 8th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I love this article, black and white with a hint of colors type photos, are always catching my attention. Thanks for the beautiful arts.

  1. waniax On November 18th, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    A beautiful, cool, and elegant of photographic tank’s for sharing this

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