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Photography 101 - Tips and Editing Techniques

Black and White Conversion Techniques

There are so many different ways to convert an image. Here are some excellent tutorials on how to convert your black and white image using Photoshop or Lightroom 4

This first one comes from PhotoTuts:

Black and white Photoshop conversion techniques:

The instructions are for Photoshop CS 3 and Photoshop Elements 6.0 but versions in Photoshop will be pretty similar so if you have a different version you should still give it a try.

You can convert a black and white image in a destructive way where you can’t edit the conversion once you do it. The only way to fix it would be to start the entire conversion again. The other way is a non-destructive technique which allows you to adjust on adjustment layers. You original image is untouched and you can add as many layers on top as you like.

TutsPlus gives an excellent examples step by step how to convert your black and white using different techniques. They also list some destructive ways step by step too so you know the difference. Perhaps you’re using one of the destructive ways and might think about trying a different one. Here are some of the non-destructive tutorials you will find at TutsPlus:

Hue/Saturation Tool to convert to Black and White
Gradient Map conversion technique
Channel Mixer
Twin Hue/Saturation Method
White Adjustment Layer Method

Any Lightroom 4 users? This is an excellent tutorial on how to convert portraits to bw with lightroom 4 found at Mansurovs.com

Lightroom offers three different ways to make the conversion to black and white

1. Changing the treatment to “Black and White”
2. Setting the Saturation slicer in the Basic Panel to “-100″
3. Desaturating all colors separately in the HSL – Hue Saturation Luminance Panel

On this tutorial they dive into each one individually and in the end show an example of the same three images edited using these three different starting points.  So for anyone with Lightroom 4 be sure to check out this tutorial at Mansurovs.com!

One tip! I always shoot my photographs in color and convert later on the computer. I do this for two reasons….

1. You have more control and more options when converting your black and white.
2. You might decide you like the photograph better in color than black and white.

This picture I took as an example of what would have been lost if I only captured the image in black and white. I prefer this picture in color over black and white.

What is your favorite way to convert an image to black and white?




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Circles of Confusion
Different types of lighting in Photography
Photography 101 - How to Photograph Trees


2 Responses to “Black and White Conversion Techniques”

  1. Some good info here. You might also want to check out Keith Cooper’s site. He has a great article that covers this topic in depth. http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/bwfromcol.html He included one of my techniques which is detail at: http://www.riecks.com/forphotogs/rgb_grayscale.html

    Posted by David Riecks | September 26, 2012, 2:16 pm
  2. Thanks so much for added that link! There are so many different ways one can covert…

    Posted by admin | September 26, 2012, 2:55 pm

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