GIMP Photo Editing Tutorial — Black and White Picture with Part Left in Color

My Dear Readers,

First of all, I hope each of you are having lovely, sweet, old-fashioned holidays!

A couple of people mentioned a photo I had recently on another blog.


They wondered how I made the photograph black and white but kept just the collage in color.  It was quite easy, and I will try to tell you how.


Here is another photo from a collage finished just this morning.

First of all, I use GIMP for my photo editing.  It is a free program that you can install from on line.  I love it!  I will tell you though, like anything else you do, it takes time to learn to maneuver and feel really comfortable using all of its features.  You can likely do this particular action with any photo editing software.

  • The first thing I did was open the photo I wanted to work with.  I optimized the color levels (color — levels — adjust)
  • I then made that photo a black and white by going to colors — desaturate
  • I then opened the same photo as a new layer.  The new layer will be in color.
  • Then, in the new layer, you will go to tools — crop — and crop just the part that you want to keep in color.  This is easy-peasy because it happens to be a square!   Note that you do not want to change the size of either layer at this point.  You want the part you crop out to fit exactly over the area you will replace in your final layer.
  • Copy the area you have cropped and then go to the first layer and paste it in the layer that will be your final photo.   You may have to press M to prompt “move active layer” so that you can move this pasted piece where you want it.
  • You can now flatten the image and crop your completed image to the size that you want.   Then you save (or export depending on what version of GIMP you have).
  • NOTE:  The only part that might get tricky is if your area to crop is not square.  In that case you can trace around it using selection tools — free select.  Also, if the square part is not completely level horizontally, you can go to tools — transform — rotate and then crop the image you need.  Once done, you can rotate back to the same degree in the opposite direction and then paste.

I hope this helps.  Feel free to ask questions and I will try to answer them.  Again, any kind of photo editing program is just going to be a process!

Enjoy this day!!

Lynn Dylan

  4 comments for “GIMP Photo Editing Tutorial — Black and White Picture with Part Left in Color

  1. Lily
    December 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Merry Christmas Lynn and Famiy!

    I hope you are enjoying a wonderful day with your loved ones.

    May this be the first of many you and the Mister have together.


    Lily, WA, USA

    • December 31, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Dear Lily,

      Thank you so much!! I hope your Christmas was wonderful and sweet and full of fun! Thank you so much for your kind words. Sorry I did not respond to your comment sooner here! Love, Lynn

  2. December 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Dear Lynn,

    A merry Christmas to you! Thank you so much for the card and little book. Rebecca received a “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” topsy turvy doll for Christmas, so it went along perfectly (of course the book is HERS, according to her).

    Your gimpified pictures are lovely.



    • December 31, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Dear Marqueta, I hope yours was merry! The MINE stage. We are heading into that here with Isabella, I think! Love, Lynn

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