10 Steps to Creating Stronger Black and White Photos

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Adjust individual color tones:

Even black and white images have a mix of color tones.  After you have gotten your image to a point where you have strong blacks and whites, it’s time to start adjusting individual portions of your photo.  One of the easiest ways to do this is by using the HSL (hue, saturation, luminesce) sliders in Lightroom. Even though you are working with a black and white image, Lightroom shows you the mix of colors used to create black and white for your image.  There is no need to guess which colors need adjusting.  Decide which area of you photo you want to target, click on the target icon next to “Black and White Mix,” then place your cursor over the area you wish to adjust.  Use the up and down arrows to lighten the tones contained that area and the down arrow to darken the tones.  The HSL sliders can be used to brighten skin, darken backgrounds, and generally add interest to your photos.

Don’t ignore white balance:

Another way to adjust tones in your black and white photos is to pay attention to white balance.  Even in black and white images, making images warmer can brighten skin tones and make them appear less gray.  Many photographers tend to ignore white balance in black and white photos, but making some simple adjustments can have a huge impact on your final image.

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