Black and white photo: how to do it online, in Photoshop and Lightroom | Lesson | Photo, video, optics


Black and white photos look stylish and eye-catching. They can add a retro vibe to the shot, focusing the viewer’s attention on the model and beautiful light. In addition, black and white photos are easier to retouch — no need to look for harmonious color combinations, even out the tone of the face and repaint red cheeks or noses.

It doesn’t matter if you want to add vintage effect photos or you are drawn to minimalism, we will support you and tell you how to quickly make a photo in black and white online and in image editors.

Black and white photographs look spectacular and noble / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Fotosklad.Expert

Black and white photo in Photoshop

In Photoshop, the same result can be achieved in several ways. This does not mean that there is a right or wrong option. Choose the one that is currently best for you — in one situation speed is important, in another — the possibility of a creative experiment. We have prepared for you three ways to quickly make a black and white photo in Photoshop

How to Make a Photo Black and White in Photoshop — Two Instant Ways

Black and white photo in Photoshop through grayscale

This method of converting to b/w will take no more than a couple of seconds / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert

1. Open a photo in Photoshop.

2. Go to the menu Image / Image — Modes / Mods — Grayscale / Grayscales.

The photo will instantly turn from color to black and white. Choose this path when it is important to save time. For example, on stream processing or if deadlines are on fire.

Cons of working with Grayscales / Grayscales in that you can’t change the opacity (you can’t make the black and white layer less colorless), work with masks (you can’t make part of the photo color, and leave everything else black and white), and also adjust how it will be look like a picture.

Black and white photo in Photoshop through Hue / Saturation / Hue / Saturation

1. Open a photo.

2. In the palette Layers click on the black and white circle — the tab with adjustment layers — and select the tool Hue/Saturation / Hue/Saturation.

If you do not have a palette Layers / Layers, open it through the hot key F7 / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore.Expert

3. To take a photo b/w, in the program menu that opens, move the slider Saturation to -100.

Using Hue / Saturation / Hue / Saturation, you can convert a photo to b / w in a couple of moments. Compared to the previous method, there are a number of advantages:

  • the photo can be made not in black and white, but simply very, very dim. To do this, do not bring the slider Saturation / Saturation to the end, but leave it at — 80 or — 60;
  • in the same tool, make the photo lighter or darker using the Brightness / Lightness slider;
  • if you want a b/w photo with color tinting, check the box Colorize;
By adjusting the Saturation and Hue sliders, you can get a discolored image with any overlay color / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore.Expert
  • if during the process of working with a photo you decide that b / w does not suit you, simply delete the Hue / Saturation layer. The picture will be in color again;
  • Using a mask, you can make a photo partially black and white. For example, as in the movie «Sin City», where everything is black and white, with the exception of some bright details.

Read also:

Why do we need masks in Photoshop and how to use them

Stand on the layer mask Hue/Saturation and use a black brush to erase the black and white tint from the area where you want to leave the color / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevich, Photostore.Expert

Black and white photography in Photoshop — a creative way

This method is suitable for those who like to control the process completely and who have a couple of extra minutes to “play” with colors. Yes, yes, in black and white photography it is also possible!

1. Open a photo in Photoshop.

2. In the palette Layers left click on the black and white circle and select the tool Black and white / Black & White.

You can work with the Black and White tool immediately on the background layer / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Fotosklad.Expert

3. The photo will be converted to black and white. You will also see a window that consists of sliders, each of which is responsible for its own color.

Result before and after. Moving the sliders Reds / Reds and Yellows / Yellows, we made a black and white shot with fair skin and dark lips / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Photostore.Expert

The essence of the tool is that by moving the slider of a certain color, you make this color darker or lighter in a black and white photo. The model before discoloration had red lips and if you adjust the slider Reds, the lips will become lighter or darker in a black-and-white photo. The same with the skin for which the sliders are responsible Reds / Reds and Yellows / Yellows.

How to take a black and white photo in Lightroom

1. Open a photo in Lightroom and go to the tab Development / Develop.

2. On the left side of the screen, find the dropdown list Basic / Basic. This menu contains commands related to photo brightness, color saturation, and white balance.

Click on the Black & White button to instantly desaturate your photo

If you don’t like the result, use ready-made tints, which are called presets.

To do this, on the left side of the screen, find the tab Presets / Presets. There are many basic presets in Lightroom that will give you several options for how a black and white photo might look / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore.Expert

Read also:

Presets for Lightroom and Photoshop: how to save, install and upload

Black and white photo online — three convenient free services

When you are too lazy to open Photoshop or Lightroom, you can take a b/w photo online. Of course, there is minimal room for creative experiments, but you will save time. We have chosen for you the three most convenient and understandable free services.


Upload a photo to the site, and in a couple of moments it will turn the picture into black and white. From the advantages of the service — you can choose the quality and format in which the future b/w image will be. There are four formats to choose from: JPEG, PNG, GIF, WEBP.

Click «Download» and the finished black and white photo will be downloaded to your computer / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Fotosklad.Expert


The service works on the same principle as the previous one. You can choose the format (also one of four), the quality of the photo.

From the unusual — in the Type menu there are three tabs. Grayscale transforms a photo into black and white, and Monochrome and Posterization can be used for creative experiments and unusual effects / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Photosklad.Expert

Online photo converter

Another free service for converting photos to black and white. Simple and with a minimum of settings. Simply upload a photo, select the quality (preferably set to 100%) and click OK.

After pressing the OK button, the website will convert the photo to b/w and redirect you to a new tab where the photo can be downloaded / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Fotosklad.Expert

Important: the created b/w photo will be available only for two hours. It must be downloaded during this time. After that, the site will delete it and have to redo it again.

Read also:

Best Online Photoshop Alternatives

Quick retouching: how to process a photo in Photoshop in 10 minutes

Gradient: how to create it yourself, install ready-made, toning with a gradient


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