How To 

How To Convert A Color Image To “Black and White” In Photoshop

While you could simply hit “Desaturate” on any given color image to convert it to grayscale, this doesn’t replicate the richness that’s native to conventional black and white photography and might leave you with an image that is dull and flat. To prevent this, Photoshop offers a specific command that allows you replicate the levels of a photograph that was specifically shot for black and white. This is how it works.

1. Open the “Black and White” adjustment window.
With the layer of your image selected, simply hit “Image > Adjustments > Black & White…” to open a dialogue window for this command.

2. Apply “Auto” levels as a base.
By clicking the “Auto” button, you give permission to Photoshop to analyze the color and brightness data of the image and adjust the “Black and White” levels to something relatively natural. This might not anticipate the look you’re going for, but it applies a nice base setting for you to bounce off of.

3. Adjust the color levels.
By moving the sliders, you’re able to adjust how the various color information is interpreted as light or shadow within the grayscale. A lot of this is playing around until you find something that feels right, and the “Preview” checkbox is a nice tool to see choose which areas to adjust. For example, the background in this image is mostly green so we’ll set this color to read as bright so that the subject is more prominently contrasted from his environment.

4. Adjust the “Tint” levels.
To add an overall tone to the image, simply check the “Tint” box and adjust the parameters accordingly. We’re going to apply a slight sepia tone, so we’ll set the slider to an orange value in the “Hue” setting and change the saturation so that it hits fairly subtly.