Black & White Photo Editing Tips

There are two ways to look at black and white editing – the right way, and the wrong way. Which way are you doing it?

iPhotography’s got two great black and white photo editing videos for you to watch, depending upon whether you’re a Photoshop or Lightroom user.

Time to find out on the tips you might be missing when editing your black & white photos.

Tip – Before we begin remember some colours, such as pink and yellow, don’t translate well into black and white.

Using these extra colour slider adjustments that we’ll discuss, are perfect editing assistants to transform your monochrome photos!

Black & White Editing in Photoshop

Using the colour channel sliders in Photoshop underneath adjust the appropriate ones (based on the colours in your original shot) to change its appearance in black and white editing.

You’ll start to see that black and white editing doesn’t start and finish with a simple desaturation. There are extra adjustments you can make to tone the image in a more stylised way.

For Photoshop users, it is possible to edit your black and white photos using Camera RAW as well as the main Photoshop workspace.

Try to avoid using a direct desaturation of an image from colour to black and white. Instead, use the dedicated black & white adjustment option under IMAGE>ADJUSTMENT>BLACK & WHITE.

In this tool, you’ll be faced with presets of black & white variations. Some that are heavy on the contrast and others that are a bit softer. Under these presets you can continue to customise the black & white finish further.

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Black & White Editing in Lightroom (& Luminar 4)

In the same way as black & white photos in Photoshop has its own custom tools, so does Lightroom. And it’s not just Lightroom, if you edit in Luminar 4 then many of these processes will be similar.

At the top of your basic panel, there is a treatment option of colour or black & white. Choose black & white and scroll down to the B&W Mix panel. Here you’ll have access to colour channel sliders which allow you to tweak the colours from the original shot.

You’ll only need to adjust the colours that were present in your original photo. Have a go at making live tweaks to your shots and see what creative effects it can give you.


Hopefully, this quick guide to black and white editing has given you a new approach. Just like a colour picture, black and white editing still need further adjustments to make those tones really pop.

If you’re an iPhotography member, don’t forget to share your photos in the gallery.

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