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How-to's Software Reviews

Better B&W Images in Adobe Lightroom


Keywords: storing, postprocessing, printing, guides, tips, adobe, lightroom, lr2, lr4, black_and_white


A Guide To Producing Better Black and White Images in Lightroom

Who doesn't love black and white photographs? Sure, modern cameras can capture millions of colors in vivid detail, and for some images that's exactly what we want. But at times, I find that a particular image is made stronger by going black and white, and sometimes, a photograph works well in both color and black and white. Either way, if you're going black and white with any photograph, the end result can be made stronger by doing things yourself and not just letting your software decide how to create the tones and contrast that ultimately make for a powerful black and white image.


For this tutorial, I'll be working in Lightroom 3. Although some of the controls may be different from LR2 and LR4, I assure you that you'll be able to reproduce these steps as all of the tools and panels are available in your version, though they may be named slightly differently and/or appear in a different place on your screen.


Step One: Deciding which images to go black and white with

The first choice you make in the process is, of course, the most critical. As much as we may love black and white images, some photographs just may not work in shades of gray. This is also somewhat a decision of personal taste and preference. This being the case, I won't spend too much time here discussing which images should or shouldn't go black and white. However, if you're interested in learning more about the details and what to look for when deciding, I'd suggest reading this blog post by David Nightingale, Gulf Photo Plus instructor and online teacher at Perfect Picture School of Photography in the US and on Udemy.

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User on November 24, 2012

I didn't know about the HSL panel's manual adjustment tool. I'll definitely try that one out. I've been doing that by guessing what colors would be affected and in what proportions.

User on November 12, 2012

Great article, great tip..Can't wait to try them out myself!