Black and White Conversion

The black and white conversion of a colour image has retained its appeal throughout the years.

The ongoing appeal of black and white (aka monochrome) has to do with people's admiration and appreciation of the tones in the image as opposed to the colors in the image.  A great monochrome image can be stunning!

Some of the greatest photographs in the last century were black and white (also known as monochrome or greyscale).  A whole host of famous photographers worked entirley in black and white including Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt and Josuf Karsh to name but a few!

Digital cameras have pretty much put an end to black and white film pictures yet the popularity of the medium lives on digitally.  Most digital cameras will shoot in monochrome but it's not nearly as effective as shooting in color and converting to black and white because you still have the colour version available if you want to go back.

Here's a link to a great article on shooting in Black and White - if so inclined take some time to read through the article!

The primary editing software, such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements Lightroom and PaintShop Pro all include a variety of different methods to convert your images.

In addition, there are third party methods for converting images including the free download of
Google Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2 and some plugins from Topaz labs.

The following links will take you to a variety of different black and white conversion methods!

Black and White Conversion Links

The majority of these techniques will also work perfectly with Photoshop Elements.

Paint Shop Pro

There are a variety of different methods to do a monochrome conversion with PaintShop Pro 9. 

This page will cover techniques from the very simple (desaturate) to customizing the look you want in a black and white conversion.  Check it out ...


The curves dialogue in Paint Shop Pro (and Photoshop and Topaz) is very useful for a whole host of reasons.  One of the best  reasons is solarisation - which makes great use of a black and white image.

"Back in the day" this was much more complicated than it is with Paint Shop.   The technique makes use of the Curves dialogue.


Terry has written a tutorial detailing how to complete a Daguerroeotype conversion with Paint Shop.  It's the oldest form of photography and of course, it's a monochrome image!

If you want to give a photo that old time look then work with the tutorial to get some great results.

Photoshop Monochrome Conversions


Fine Tuned Monochrome

Terry has written a fabulous black and white conversion tutorial called Fine Tuned Monochrome.  It's based on two Hue and Saturation layers and blend Modes.

Some people think this is the very best conversion technique!  Click the link to learn about Fine Tuned Monochrome technique.

Gradient Map

This is a quick, yet powerful, method of converting a colour image to black and white with most versions of Photoshop and Elements.

What it does is map a black and white gradient to the colour tones in the image, producing a fabulous mono image.  Click here to learn more ...

This two part technique (Image > Greyscale and Image > Duotone) turns the image into a greyscale and then provides some colour - an it's completely under your control.

Google Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

This is my favourite method of converting a colour image to black and white.  Once you get to use this program you may never go back to any other method. (Note - Silver Efec Pro 2 does not currently work with CC PS 2017 but does work fine with earlier versions of Photoshop).

Click the link to find out about Silver Efex Pro 2.

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom has been gaining popularity in the digital editing crowd.  It's relatively easy to understand and use - as a result one can create fabulous black and white images in Lightroom.

Here's a nice starter black and white conversion tutorial in Lightroom that Terry has written.

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