Converting Color Images to Black and White

Black and white photos can be so moving and captivating; instead of focusing on or being distracted by the colors in the image, you are drawn to the emotion of the image. I absolutely love black and white photography, but now with the popularity and accessibility of Instagram, and other photo editing apps, editing photos quickly can sometimes take away the integrity of the photo. When I was in college I was taught black and white photography with old film cameras; developing the film ourselves in a dark room and learning about a photo’s composition, exposure and light. I am so thankful to have this background because it taught me the skills I use today when editing a monochromatic (black and white) image.

There are a handful of ways to correctly transition an image to black and white that also maintains the color composition in a photo. It is important to never turn an image to black and white without also adjusting the tone and other variables. For example, when you change an image of a person from color to black and white often times the skin tone will come out quite a bit darker; so it’s important to adjust the reds and yellows to match the proper skin tone. It may help the image to adjust it the tiniest bit. If you have PhotoShop, use these simple steps to properly adjust your photo.

– Go to Image, Adjustments and click on Black & White.
– A separate window will pop up. This is where you will adjust the colors of the image.
– I mostly focus on the reds and yellows but it depends on the colors in the image. You can try Auto but this doesn’t always work. You might still need to manually adjust some of the colors.

Following these steps will ensure you maintain the proper tone of a black and white image. In addition to using PhotoShop, there are other ways to convert images. If you would like a tutorial or to talk more about this, feel free to send me an email. I would love to chat more if you’re interested!

Here are some examples of original color images followed by examples of properly converted images. Feel free to email with if you have more questions!

Beth Skogen PhotographyBeth Skogen PhotographyBeth Skogen PhotographyBeth Skogen Photography