Techniques for Turning Color Photos into B&W

These are some techniques that can be used to convert your color photographs into B&W in Photoshop.

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>> GRAYSCALE MODE
Pros: reducing the file size.
Cons: you have no control over the tonality

Step 1: Open your image


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Step 2: Go to Image > Mode > Greyscale, then when a dialog box pop out on the screen, just click yes. Your color image will now turn into B&W

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Here’s a color image converted into B&W using this technique:

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>> DESATURATION
Benefit: Ideal if you want to tone or tint

Step 1: Open your image

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There are two ways of doing this, first one is:

Step 2: Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.

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Another technique is by using hue/saturation adjustments, with this technique you can convert your image to B&W or Duotone easily

For B&W: Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and pull the saturation slider completely over the left.

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Here’s a color image converted into B&W using this technique:

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For Duotone: Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Click Colorize, play around with the hue slider and pull the saturation slider down.

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Here’s a color image converted into duotone using this technique:

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>> CHANNEL MIXER
Benefit: This technique will give you maximum control over the conversion process as it enables you to specify how much of the information from each of the Red, Green and Blue channels is used to create the final mono image.

Step 1: Open your image

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Step 2: Duplicate your background layer.

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Step 3: Go to Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer. Click the monochrome box and adjust red, green and blue sliders. The total (with any minus values taken away) should add up around 100

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Here’s a color image converted into B&W using this technique:

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One Response to “Techniques for Turning Color Photos into B&W”

  1. Nïall Green says:

    Another great way to convert to black and white, and get much greater customisation is to use the black and white adjustment layer.

    Go to Layer/New Adjustment Layer/Black and White…

    This will give you a dialog box with customisation from -200% to +300% for Red, Green, Blue, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, as well as tint options with hue and saturation levels.

    Adjust the sliders to suit your image, e.g. for studio portraits, adjusting the red and yellow sliders up is great to flatten skin tones.

    For tinting, choose the best for your photo. a 45 degree tint at about 10% is very good for a slight sepia effect, whilst a 185 degree tint at 5% is good for a slight cyanotype look. Again it is up to you.

    Thanks for reading,
    Nïall Green

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