Inject a bit of creativity into your black-and-white shots, just by experimenting with brushes, blending and colouring in
Open your image and add a new layer to brush over the first balloon. Choose the Colour blend mode as this will merge your colour with the tone and texture of the layer below and set the layer Opacity to 90% as 100% is often too bright.
Head to the swatches and choose a colour for the first balloon. Remember that you can’t alter the brightness of the balloon, and don’t pick too bright a colour. Stick to pastel shades close to the grey area of the palette.
Gently brush in the colour onto the balloon, using a soft-edged brush. Erase as you go too; it’s often easier to brush a colour on first, then perfect the edges and remove the excess colour.
On another balloon, repeat the same steps: add a new layer, set the Opacity and blend mode, and brush the colour in as you did for the first. Erase around the overlaps. If you wish to adjust the colour, press Cmd/Ctrl+U to bring up the Hue/Saturation sliders.
Now colour all the balloons – this may take a while! Use a new layer for each and follow the same steps that you did on the first for each one. Add a separate layer for the strings, use a tiny, soft brush, and lower Opacity to 75%.
On another new, brush in a background. It doesn’t have to be precise, as this layer is going to be blended as Colour too, with an Opacity of 40%. It’s just there to flesh out the picture more than anything else.
Add another new layer with the same settings you used for the balloons, and begin brushing in the face and hands. Use subtle colours for the skin as often if a skin tone is too bright or saturated, it is obvious the picture has been edited.
With even subtler colours, brush in the hair, lips and eyes on another new layer. We’re going to add tone to the main features later on, so just single shades are sufficient to add a little hue to the subject’s face.
On another new layer, begin brushing in the clothes. Add new layers with lower opacities and alter the shades of brush; paint these new tones along the creases of the subject’s clothes and this will give a silkier, more fabric-like feel to them.
Add another new layer but instead of choosing Colour as the blend mode, choose Hue. Set the Opacity between 20 and 40% and begin adding to the complexion. Move the Opacity higher to make the subject look as though she’s wearing make-up.
By using this technique, we can apply tone to the picture all over. Use the Eyedropper tool to pick the colour of a balloon, and then alter the hue slightly in the Swatches. Brush this new colour as an extra tone to accentuate the original tint.
To unify the colour of the whole photo, why not apply a filter? Go to the Adjustments panel and choose Photo Filter before experiment with various different filters and densities for your picture.