Beginner Cat Photo Skills

Fun and Easy Colour-Popping for Cat Photos

Cat lovers with a passion for taking their own cat photos understand the joy of capturing their friends’ distinct personalities. However, sometimes the resulting images may not quite match our expectations. If you are looking for a fun and creative challenge, allow me to introduce a captivating project that will not only enhance your photo editing skills but also impress your friends.

  • Let me show you how to colour pop your cat!
  • It’s a splash of eye catching colour and cool magic anyone can try.

In this post, I’ll explore how to colour pop your cat photos like a pro. From choosing the right photo to using editing software and adjusting brightness and saturation levels, I’ll cover everything you need to know to create purrfectly vibrant cat photos.

I know they will be sure to make your friends and followers stop scrolling and double-tap on Instagram, so grab your camera, your cat buddy, and let’s get started with a quick video overview and instructions!

Before you say ‘Sure! I can do this ‘instantly’ with a smartphone app, look for where the creative and heartfelt input is from you, the cat lover? This fun technique is more than a couple of screen tippity-taps, it lets you to step back from a busy day, relax, learn something new and create your own wonderful cat art.

Why Colour Popping is Perfect for Cat Photos

Colour popping is a popular photo editing technique that involves adjusting the saturation and contrast of a photo to make the colours appear more vibrant and eye-catching. When you isolate those colours, using a monochrome layer, they pop brilliantly! Check out Toulouse here against a black and white fence.

Tabby cat looking upwards at a fence

This project is perfect for cat images because it can bring out the unique colours of your cat’s eyes, a bright cat collar or a special toy. It will also work on an image you scan into your computer, allowing you to make use of the unique vintage colours.

Examples of Colour Popped Cat Photos

Before we dive into the details of this project and how to colour pop your cat photos, let’s take a look at some examples of what a colour popped cat photo can look like.

Another example might be is a photo of a tabby cat lounging in the sun. This imag was taken in wider landscape format that suits his stretch pose. By colour popping the tints of blue, along with the orange and yellow hues in the fur, Toulouse appears to be glowing in the sunlight.

These examples show jthe difference colour popping can make in a cat photo. With this fun technique, you can bring out the unique colours and personality of your cat buddy.

Choosing the Right Software for Colour Popping

When choosing your software for colour popping, look for one that has the ability to adjust the saturation and contrast of the photo. These are the two basic tools that you will need to use to achieve the colour popping effect and you will find them iin most software. For the budget conscious, free software like the popular GIMP program has all the basic features you will need.

Start Your Colour Pop Project

Now that we’ve seen some examples of colour popped cat photos and the fun you can create, let’s get started with the editing process. I have created a numbered list so you can get an idea of the steps involved. Then I go into a bit more detail that will be all you will need, especially if you watch the video at the top of this post too.

  1. Choose your cat photo
  2. Open it in your software
  3. Adjust the Saturation and Contrast
  4. Duplicate your photo (layer 2)
  5. Turn layer 2 black and white
  6. Grab the eraser tool
  7. Chose which areas of layer 2 you want to remove.
  8. Remember you can use undo for mistakes.
  9. Save your cat photo.
Tabby Cat Stretching on the ground
Tabby Cat on a plain background

The First Step is to Choose the Right Cat Photo.

Look for a photo that has a clear subject, good lighting, and interesting colours. The better the quality of the original photo, the easier it might be to edit. The image does not have to be perfect though. I found that my slightly blurry smartphone photograph of Toulouse playing with his pencil worked well.

Open the image in the photo editing software of your choice. I am using Affinity Photo but there are lots of software options available, from free programs like GIMP and Paint.NET to more advanced programs like Paint Shop Pro and Lightroom. Use one you feel comfortable with.

Adjust the Saturation and Contrast

Once you have your photo open in your editing software, the first step is to adjust your saturation and contrast. These make your colours glow. Let me explain what saturation and contrast are, in case you are not sure.

  • Saturation refers to the intensity of the colour in the photo, while Contrast refers to the difference between the light and dark areas of the photo.

Look for a slider or control that allows you to increase or decrease your saturation level. Start by increasing the saturation slightly, and then adjust it until the colours in the photo appear more vibrant. How saturated you want them to be is your choice. I pushed the intensity of the colours to maximum for the pencil photograph of Toulouse to the pencil glows.

To adjust the contrast, look for a slider or control that allows you to increase or decrease the contrast level. Adjusting the contrast can help to bring out the details in the darker and lighter areas of the photo, making the colours appear more intense.

Duplicate Your Photo

You will now work with your duplicate image which you might call layer 2. This is the top layer, the one you will turn to black and white. The video screenshot shows this selection in action.

How you turn this layer to black and white depends on your software. In Affinity Photo you activate an ‘adjustment’ layer and here are a few of the more popular software options.

  • There are several ideas in GIMP
  • Photoshop tip Select Window > Adjustments. Click the Black & White icon in the Adjustments panel that opens. Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White.
  • Black and white in Paint Shop Pro.
  • If you see the word desaturation or greyscale, this is the same as turning a photo black and white. You are removing colour.

Once your image has been turned to monochrome (another word for a single colour) you can move on to the next step.

Use the Eraser Tool to Colour Pop

You will have two layers open in your photo editor for the next step. One brightly coloured image and on top of this, a black and white version. Making sure you have the black and white layer highlighted (click on the image to choose it) then select your Eraser Tool.

  • The icon looks like the small eraser (aka rubber in England) you might have used at school. It will be on the left-hand side of your editing screen.

Click on the Eraser tool to activate it

Then take a moment to check how large the tool’s stroke width is before you start work on your image. Make a practice mark then undo (Cmd Z/Ctrl Z). Your software will offer you options to adjust the width of the stroke so choose something you are happy to work with. Then select an area of your cat photo to try out a few strokes to reveal the colour underneath.

Working carefully, remove the colour from the black and white layer. In the videoyou will see that I keep it simple and remove the layer over two small areas. You choose how much of the layer you will remove. It all depends on your photo, and what you want to do with it.

Save your Colour Popped Photo

Once you are happy with the results of your project; save your image. Decide if your colour popped photo will be shared online, which needs low resolution, or printed off as a card, poster or canvas print which will need a much higher resolution.

Your software should give you the choice of different saving options. This example from Affinity Photo gives you an idea of the kind of options you will find.

Saving an image at high quality will ensure a printed copy will be more successful, and medium or low works for online sharing or posting on a blog or social media.

Creative Ways to Use Colour Popped Cat Photos

Once you have mastered this particular technique of colour popping, there are many ways you can use your new skills to create beautiful and eye-catching photos of your cats. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Create a collage of colour popped cat photos and print it on a canvas to hang on your wall.
  • Use colour popped cat photos to create a unique and eye-catching social media post.
  • Create a colour popped photo book of your cat’s adventures and share it with friends and family.
  • Use colour popped cat photos to create a personalised greeting card for a friend or family member.

The possibilities are endless, and with your new skills in colour popping, you can create beautiful and unique photos that capture the personality and essence of your feline friend.


Colour popping is a simple and effective way to make your cat photos pop with vibrant colour and stand out online. With this one simple technique, you can bring out the unique colours and personality of your feline friend in a way that is sure to capture the attention of everyone.

Need help? Check the video or email me!Maybe I ned to do a mini course for this as well as Snapseed.

You can even explore the more advanced techniques for colour popping online later but, for now, take a look at the how-to video here and then jump to to make your own cat look spectacular!

13 thoughts on “Fun and Easy Colour-Popping for Cat Photos”

  1. Wow. Can I just say those photos are stunning! Sometimes you just need a pop of color. Stunning!

  2. What a great idea! I like the vibrant “pop’ of colour as you demonstrated in the video. Great tutorial. Do you know of any other budget-friendly software option aside from GIMP? I’ve heard of Adobe Pro but I already know that’s super pricey. I’ll have to see if there is a similar feature in Canva. Thanks for sharing this fun DIY tip to add some pizazz to cat photos.

  3. These look so cool! I use color saturation and contrast all the time, I always need to use these along with brightening photos. I’ve never tried this layering approach though.

  4. Great post and lesson as always, I sometimes feel it is too complicated but when you explain it seems easy so I need to try one of these days and see if I can manage to do it, Thanks

  5. This is a fun idea! I haven’t played with Gimp in years. This inspires me to open it and give it a go. I will need to have this post open as well to walk me through how to do it. But you certainly do make me want to try. Excellent post, Marjorie! I’m sharing this one, like I always do, with all my pet parents. You’ll have all of us taking great photos one of these days.

  6. I enlarge the picture(s) so I can better see what I am doing, esp with an erase or cutout tool. And yes, the undo function is well used, here, too!!

  7. Saving these wonderful instructions! I’m slowly trying to relearn the photo editing I used to do with an ancient program. I used to use saturation bump up colors, I think, along with a little “fill light” sometimes in picassa, which is now not there.

  8. Super cool! You know, I was just thinking about this last week, Great timing — and really awesome tutorial. Thank you, Marjorie!

  9. I’ll have to read this again and again. I never got the hang of dealing with layers and erasing. I usually erase too much and have to undo over and over LOL! Thanks for joining our Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.


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