Sometimes an image we take becomes even more stunning when we convert it to black and white. In this tutorial, I will show you a simple yet effective way to turn an image black and white in Photoshop.
Here we go!
With your photo open, create new Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of your background layer.
Make sure the gradient map is from black to white in the Gradient Map Adjustment panel as shown below. If it’s not, you can click the gradient to change the colors.
If you click the gradient to change colors, it will bring up the Gradient Map Editor. Choose the Black, White preset.
Your layers palette should look like this…
… and the image now looks like this…
For some images, this may be all that is required. For portraits, this can leave the skin a bit dark or gray, so many times I go a step further and duplicate the Gradient Map layer. Just duplicating the layer will give the image more contrast, but if you play around with the different blending modes, you will be able to see even more effects. Soft Light and Overlay modes usually yield some impressive results, even if you have to turn down the opacity on those layers a bit.
One last thing I am going to do – I want to brighten it just a bit more, so I created a Levels adjustment layer and moved the midpoint to the left a bit.
Here is the After:
As a recap, here are the steps to a simple yet effective black and white conversion in Photoshop:
- Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of your image. Set the colors to Black and White.
- Duplicate the Gradient Map layer. Set the blending mode to Soft Light or Overlay (or try others). Adjust opacity as necessary.
- If you need to bring in more or less light, create a Levels layer and adjust the midpoint.
Easy peasy! And here is a non-portrait shot using this method:
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! As always, I’d love to hear from you. Post your images to Polished Picture’s Facebook Page, drop me a comment, or share this post if you liked it! Thanks for coming by!