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Feb 21, 2014

Creating A Black and White Image in Photoshop

Creating a Black and White Photo

In this episode you will learn 3 different methods for creating a Black and White image in Photoshop as well as the pros and cons of each.

We start off with the most simple approach to creating a Black and White – desaturate. To Desaturate an image, make a Stamp Visible Layer by hitting Ctrl+Optn+Cmd+E and go to image-AdjustmentsDesaturate or press Shift+Cmd+U. This is the fastest way to turn an image Black and White but lacks the control of other methods.

Next we use the Black and White Adjustment Layer which will allow you to adjust the Brightness of your image based on Color, for instance you can make the reds lighter and the blues darker.

The final method we use is the Channel Mixer, appropriate for when you want to create an image with a ton of Contrast.

Additional Effects

After we turn our image Black and White we apply a Field Blur to Draw more focus to the subject’s Face and top it off with a little Grain to make the blur a bit more realistic.
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Photo Credit:

Black & White Zinnia Wallpaper Black and White Birds Black and White... sleeping rise in black and white Toni Frissell: Weeki Wachee spring, Florida, 1947

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2 Comments


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  • user image
    Aleksander Torset Eriksen

    I would recommend using channel-blending too. I learned this from Lee Varis; Split channels in to 3 documents (if you use RGB mode). Import all splitted channels on to a new document or the first splitted channel. Play with blending modes and opacity. Extra tips, I often use a mask with “apply image” and main document in inverted or non-inverted mode, but that depends. Sometimes I duplicate document to a CMYK version and use K channel in multiply mode for extra contrast/details. Remember, you got the L in LAB, CMYK, and the 3 channels in RGB to blend with. Nice way to learn the channels.

  • user image
    Benjamin Milde

    In addition to your tips you could’ve mentioned using raw+jpeg. Use a picture style to get a b/w jpeg, while the raw file is color. So you see the b/w on the camera, but you also get full control in postproduction. This is also nice to use, if you want to “see” light in a scene. b/w mode and enhanced contrast will show you where the light and the shadows are, while color can distract you.