How to Do Great Black and White Conversions with Photoshop


Black and white photography can sometimes be even more visually stunning than color photography. When done right, black and white photos highlight the beauty in contrast and make the ordinary appear extraordinary. In order to get great black and white conversions from your color photographs, make sure to amp up the contrast and shadows, bring up the sharpness, and tweak the vibrance. Making the right adjustments using these tools can make your black and white images really pop and stand out.

Adjusting Sharpness for Stunning Clarity

Just as with most color photographs, adjusting the sharpness and clarity of your image can not only make up for any excessive blur, but it can also take your photo from good to great. People tend to find images with sharpness and clarity more beautiful and visually stunning than photos that appear more dull or foggy. In black and white photography, creating something visually striking is especially important because you won’t be able to manipulate color in order to do it as you would with color photography.

Bring Up the Contrast and Shadows for Breathtaking Photos

The less contrast and shadow you have in your photos, the more flat and lifeless they will appear. Make sure to find a good balance, however, and don’t tweak them so much that you lose all shades of gray in between. You’ll want to ensure that you have enough shadow and light to give your photo some vitality, but in most cases you won’t want to have so much that your photo becomes truly black and white. You want to keep some shades of gray in order to add style and shading to your photo. It helps if you start with a photo that already has a nice balance of black, white and gray to begin with rather than a photo that is washed out or extremely dark.

Tweak the Vibrance to Give Your Photo a Brighter Look

Use the vibrance tool to make your photo appear brighter. Just as with using the contrast and shadow tools, you don’t want to bring this up too much, or you can make your photo end up looking less stunning, not more. Bring it up just enough to add vitality while keeping the shadows, highlights and shades of gray in between.

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