Easy Black & White Photos In Lightroom!


I love creating black and white photos!  I just do!  I think they tend to draw your eye to what’s important in a photo, the emotions, the eyes, the STORY!  Sometimes though, it isn’t so easy to make them turn out the best!  When cruising the internet I tend to see some pretty drab, gray, and dreary black and whites.  Nothing kills me more than to see a child, especially a new born, with such gray skin that they look more deceased than sleeping.  I know! Morbid! But it does happen!  Let me walk you through how I changed this photo.


This is my photo straight out of the camera.  Not so bad, a little on the dark side maybe but nothing too far from normal.  I wanted the viewer to really pay attention to their interaction.  Their gaze with one another.  Let me tell you how I dressed it up to make that happen!


First I started by hitting the Black & White button in the Basic menu under the develop tab!  YUCK!  THIS is a GREAT example of a BAD black & white in my opinion.  It’s dark, grey, dull, and the girls look sick and ashey!  BLAH!

So I set out to change  a a few things.  I like my black & whites to be bright, with strong blacks and pretty good contrast.  So those are the sliders I tackled first.  I increased the exposure to 1.89… that’s quite a bit! I added a touch of fill light at 8 and I upped the blacks a tad to 9.  Then I attacked the brightness and bumped that right up to 68!  I told you like things bright!  Unfortunately this make their white shirts a bit too neon… if white can be neon!  So I slid the recovery slider to 34.  That helped a lot!  Contrast was next on my list and I slid that to 62.  Here… you can see my settings yourself!


There was still ONE thing that bothered me though.  The beautiful girl on the right… her face as still just a bit too dark for me.  Take a look!


I took my brush and selected the built in brightness brush and light went over her face!  I liked the result much better! Take a look!


Every photo is of course slightly different.  While I love presets I usually have tweak everything no matter what.  The settings I shared with you are typical of the settings I usually adjust when creating black and white photos.  Play around with yours to see what impact they have on your photos!

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