Remastering old black and white photos with color can make you feel like history has come alive. Colorizing photos used to require highly specialized Photoshop skills, but nowadays, you can easily do it with a click of a button.
There are plenty of free tools for adding color to black and white photos and thanks to the help of AI, the results are stunning. So get your cherished family photos ready and have fun bringing history to life!
Pallette.fm is an AI colorizer that produces fantastic results. Based online, it’s entirely free at the time of writing and won’t ask you to sign up before using it.
With Pallette.fm, you have the ability to direct the AI with a text prompt. It’s similar to using a text-to-image AI art generator, however, the aim is to describe a few key elements in the image, so the AI can correctly identify what’s in the photo and apply the right colors.
You can also use the prompt to suggest the kind of lighting or color style you want. Click on the pencil icon on the right to edit the prompt or click the Surprise Me button to automatically generate one.
Unlike other tools, you can also choose from 20 different color presets with names like Tutti Frutti, Garden Delights, Ambient Historic, and Royal Vibes.
When you download the image it will export at the same dimension as the file you uploaded and convert to PNG image format. With no restriction on downloading the colorized photo, alongside its powerful set of features, it’s hard to find a better AI colorizer for free.
If you’re a Twitter user, you can turn a black and white photo into color without ever leaving the platform thanks to a clever automated bot. All you need to do is post a black and white photo to Twitter and mention @colorize_bot in your post or in a reply to a tweet.
The first version of this bot was created by a young developer back in 2020, and today it’s still going strong with plenty of requests received every hour.
Behind the scenes, the bot works by validating the tweet first, before sending the image to an AI colorizer. After that, it’s sent back to Twitter and posted in a reply within a matter of minutes.
Some photos turn out better than others, but for such a fun, quick, and easy-to-use colorizer, we have no complaints. You can see the results yourself by looking through the Colorize_Bot’s Twitter feed.
If you have used Ancestry to explore your family history in the past, then its recent colorization tool is worth checking out.
The results aren’t as good as some other stand-alone applications, but if you already have plenty of black and white photos archived on this platform, then it’s a great option for converting your black and white photos to color in one place.
You can find it by clicking on any image in the gallery and opening it in the photo editor. You can’t miss the Colorize button to the right of the photo, but in case you can’t find it, we have an article explaining exactly how to colorize black and white photos using Ancestry.
Bear in mind that all of these tools are simply taking a guess at what the colors might be in the photo, and they aren’t historically accurate. But despite this, colorizing photos is still a great way to put a smile on the faces of living relatives.
Image Colorizer is another hassle-free tool to colorize black and white photos. You can ignore the pricing information as you don’t need to create an account or pay to use the colorizer tool.
Under the free option, you can upload JPEG or PNG files that are less than 5MB, with a max size of 3000×3000 px. If you do want to upload a large photo, the subscription costs $6 a month for 60 credits, and you can use it to upload images that are 6000×6000 px.
You can also download the Image Colorizer app on both iOS and Android. If you do most of your photo editing/uploading via your phone, it can save you the hassle of transferring files between your phone and computer.
In the app, you have the option to add filters after the colorizing process has finished. Other noteworthy features include the option to retouch and fix blurry photos, as well as remove the scratches in old black and white photos.
Download: Colorize: Old Photo Colorizer for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)
Img2Go is a one-stop shop for all sorts of image-related tools such as converting files, photo editing, and compression. AI colorizing is one of its most recent additions and the results aren’t bad. You can find the Colorize Image option under the Improve Image heading on the home page.
Where the AI colorizer seems to have trouble the most is with applying color to people, particularly the hands, neck, and sometimes the edge of the head. Aside from this, it still does a great job in less than a few minutes.
You can choose from two training models, one called Nature and People and another called Generic. Set the render quality to 40 for the maximum quality and choose from a range of file types like PNG, JPEG, and GIF.
Another point to keep in mind is that you can’t preview the image. Instead, it will prompt you to download the image straight away. You can also upload the result directly to Google Drive or Dropbox if you prefer.
There are plenty more AI tools that can add color to black and white photos, but we find Img2Go particularly useful if you also need to convert files at the same time.
Adding Color to Black and White Photos
You don’t need to work long hours in Photoshop to colorize a black and white photo anymore; any of these free online tools will produce amazing results.
Keep in mind that AI systems are ultimately taking a guess at what color the photo might have been, and what you see isn’t historically accurate. But even so, colorizing black and white photos is a wonderful way to make cherished memories shine.