photoshop friday | converting to black and white

photoshop friday | converting to black and white

1.  Opened up the image in ACR and adjust exposure.

2.  Fixed the composition. I did this by double clicking on the background, pressing ctrl t (or edit-free transform), held down shift and drug the top left corner out a tiny bit so they weren’t quite so centered.

3.  Duplicated the Layer.

4.  Used the clone stamp set to 100% and stamped out the rest of the people (just basically creating more trees and more of a solid image).

5.  Next is the black and white conversion. Go to Image-Mode- Lab Mode.

6.  Next find your channels palette and click on your lightness channel.

7.  Then go to Image-Mode-Grayscale.

8.  You will have a pretty light version of a black and white at this point. Most likely you are going to want to add some depth into your blacks to give it more contrast. I decided for this image to do more of the matted look.

9.  Create a curves layer where the left side climbs up. Then adjust the midtones area per your taste.

10. My final step is adding the gradient layer to bring some color back into the black and white.

11. Click on gradient in your adjustments palette. It may look kind of wonky at first. Double click on your gradient and choose your colors. The colors on the left of the gradient will affect your darker colors in your image. The colors on the right side of your image will affect the lighter areas. I chose a purple and yellow.

12. I then pressed ok, and set the blend mode to soft light and changed the opacity at 65%.

And here is the before and after, side by side.

About the Author:

Jenna is a wedding and lifestyle photographer serving Indiana and internationally. She loves the water, traveling with her family, and spending time with her 4 young kids & hubby. She has been in business for six years and shoots mainly weddings and seniors. She loves backlighting and is working on learning how to shoot film. Visit Jenna Stoller online.


  1. Laura May 25 2012 at 7:33 am - Reply

    I love Jenna's work! Thank you, Jenna for a great tutorial!!

  2. Colie May 25 2012 at 7:39 am - Reply

    I just love your tutorials Jenna 🙂

  3. Sara May 25 2012 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Beauty!!! Thanks Jenna!

  4. czarina May 25 2012 at 8:27 am - Reply

    im loving the added gradient for the b&w. great tutorial jenna! tfs!

  5. Alana May 25 2012 at 8:53 am - Reply

    great tutorial! im trying to edit the composition on a photo right now and it says cant perform change, background layer locked. how do i do this? Thanks

  6. Jenna May 25 2012 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Hey Alayna. Double click on the background layer to get it editable.

    🙂 forgot that step!

  7. Jo May 25 2012 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Awesome Jenna! Thank you!

  8. Cindy May 26 2012 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    I don't know what I am doing wrong. When I go to do the gradient, I can not pick colors. Everything is just black and white. Help!

  9. Cindy May 27 2012 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Never mind, I figured it. Love these ideas! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Mara Vaughan May 29 2012 at 4:58 am - Reply

    I loved this tutorial, and cannot wait to try it! Thank you!! This is very clearly explained, too.

  11. Neeraj May 29 2012 at 11:03 am - Reply

    When i am using the Gradient tool i am not able to pick colors. How to resolve that. I have CS5.


  12. Pinterest Software Jul 26 2012 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    I enjoy your web site. Quite cool. Will come again.

  13. Ariel Versele Oct 15 2012 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Aw, this was a really good post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

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