Text and Image Photography

New Images Photography

Photoshop Raw Black and White Conversion

When changing your photographs from color to black and white, the first thing you want to do is make sure that the you have as much control of the gray tones as possible. There are several ways to get your photos from color to black and white in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. More about those just ahead.

The next thing to think about is how to print in black and white. Epson printers have an Advanced Black and White feature, but that works only when the printer determines the colors, which isn’t the best way to manage the gray tones. It’s best to manage the gray tones just as you would the color tones.

Now, the real secret to getting a good black and white photograph in print is to get the image switched to black and white on your monitor. To change your photos from color to black and white in the Camera Raw dialog box of Photoshop or Elements slide the Saturation slider to -100 in the Basic options. After that you can tweak the various other basic options such as Recovery, Fill Light, Blacks, Brightness, Contrast and Clarity sliders. This is cool, but not the coolest feature of Raw. If you click on the HSL/Grayscale button (one of the buttons below the Histogram) and check Convert to Grayscale, you’ll have slew of sliders to tweak the grays. In fact, all the color sliders become tones-of-gray sliders for real control of your gray tones (see Figure grayscale).

You probably know that your JPEG files can’t be put in a Raw dialog box, so you’ll have to convert those to black and white in Photoshop. The easiest way to convert those image is to navigate to Images>Adjustments>Black &  White… Your image will come up in black and white along with a bunch of sliders in which to tweak it (working in the same way as the sliders in Camera Raw’s grayscale mode).


When converting to black and white all of your images stay in RGB mode and not grayscale. This is a good thing because you have more control of the various shades of gray.

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