3 Tools That Will Help You Make Better Black and Whites in Photoshop

3 tools for photoshop black and white

Photoshop Tips & Tutorials


Guide to 3 tools for better black and whites in photoshop


Do you struggle to get your black and white photographs to have the same pop as regular photos? Or can you not decide at times if a photo would be better as a black and white or in color?

In this article, we will discuss some very simple photoshop techniques to boost your black and whites. We will also talk about the advantages of black and whites and when you should use them.

Sometimes, getting rid of the color in a photo will draw the viewer’s attention to the composition, add a sense of texture, or make more contrast. You can do an experiment and compare the results to see which accomplished your goal in your project.

Capturing the mood in a black and white photo can be a little more difficult than in regular photos.


If you have ever noticed, there are many variations of black and white images – there are full tonal which range from white to black as well as those that simply use light and dark grey tones. Darker and lighter tones can create a totally different mood in your photo. Typically, darker tones add to a more sober mood while lighter greys create a lighter feel. Of course this is not always the fact.

Similarly, low contrast add to a more gentle feel and high contrast has a bolder impact. As a basic rule, your eyes first go to the spot of the most highlight. In addition to composition, contrast is an effective means to emphasize a certain aspect of your subject.

Take a moment to think about the type of black and white that you prefer. Of course it depends on the area of photography, but its usually a very personal preference. This tutorial will show you how to process a color photo into a black and white on.

As with photography, there are many approaches that you can take to accomplish the same result. So, find the one that achieves the best outcome according to your style of photography, and mood of the photo.

This tutorial will show how to use two adjustment layers to adjust tomes and contrast. Then, we will combine the layers to get the best of each.

1 – The Channel Mixer Layer

Go to your layer panel and click on Channel mixer, or go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Channel Mixer.

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When you work with the black and white adjustment layer, you will not be able to see the modifications immediately. The work around for this is to create a stamp layer – a layer on which adjustments can be applied directly to the image. To create a stamp layer, press Shift + Option + CMD + E, and the stamp layer appears (combining all visible layers into one).

Then you can add a black and white layer (Layer > New Adjustment layer > Black and white). From here adjust the tones to get the desired feel. This can be done in a stamp layer.

One advantage to using a stamp layer is that you can compare different looks.

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    Black and White Method
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    Channel Mixer Layer

Add a layer mask to each of the layers. Paint using black on the areas that you want to hide. This will reveal the layer underneath. If you paint with white, it will reveal from the top layer.

When you are finished, you will have a nice blend of contrasts in your image. The contrasts can be applied to the areas of the image that they suit best.

The Level/Curves adjustment layer

The following image show a curves adjustment layer. It can be used to modify the overall light of the image. It can help get rid of areas that don’t coincide with the overall mood.

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Any other modifications that you want can be made as well such as adding a texture or vignette. Be creative and experiment with different looks. You may find a new method to broaden your style.

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