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« Subtle color can make a great photograph | Main | Explore different camera angles to make better photograph »

Updated information on converting color to black and white

Although there are still people who shoot black and white film, at this point most people shoot digitally.  So what do you do if you like the look of black and white images?

There are a number of solutions available to you, the simplest being converting to Grayscale in Photoshop.  You just go to the menu bar, under Image, select Mode and then select Grayscale.


 The image has been converted, but lacks punch.

Another option is to simply remove the color by using an Hue Saturation adjustment layer and dragging the Saturation slider to 0.


This option can work too, but not very well in this case.

A more sophisticated approach would be to use Adobe Camera Raw or Adobe Lightroom.  Since the interface is basically the same, the directions are similar.  In Adobe Camera Raw, you click on the box to convert the image to black and white, then use the sliders for the various colors to find the values you like.  In Lightroom, in the Develop mode, you go to the HSL/Color/B&W controls in the left side palette and similarly adjust the sliders.



These two approaches work better the first two options, but take a bit more time.   For images that you really care about, it may be worth it to use them.

There is another option, and that is a plug-in for Photoshop called Nik Silver Efex Pro.  By far the most sophisticated way to make conversions, it has extensive controls for not only global adjustments, but for local areas as well.


References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Source
    The best way to convert color photographs to black and white.
  • Response
    Updated information on converting color to black and white - home - A Better Photograph
  • Response
    Updated information on converting color to black and white - home - A Better Photograph

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