A Quick and Easy Way to Convert a Color Photo to Black and White Using Photoshop


The easiest ways to transform a color photo into a black and white one in Photoshop would be to convert it to Grayscale Color Mode or just desaturate it. But these techniques result in really flat images that lose a lot of their power and aesthetic appeal.

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Below are a few easy and quick steps you can perform in Photoshop to convert any photo to black and white and make it look like it was originally taken as a black and white image, rather than appearing as though it has obviously been converted. This is just one of several options for converting photos to black and white in Photoshop. It's quick and easy, but if you want to experiment with other methods, you can find the workflow that's best for you.

Making a Copy of the Background Layer

The first step in the black-and-white conversion process is creating a duplicate layer of your background so that you won't lose the original layer. The fastest way to do this is by simply using Ctrl+J if you're operating a Windows PC or Command+J if you prefer to work on a Mac platform. Once you do this, you should notice a second layer, labeled Layer 1, in your Layers palette.

Bringing in the Desaturation Option

Making sure that your new layer is selected, head over to the Image menu. Click on it and then select Adjustments before clicking on Desaturate. Doing this simple step will immediately desaturate the image, removing all of the colors and leaving behind a black and white version that you can now enhance.

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Fading the Image

The very next step in this process, before you do anything else to your image, is to use the Fade option. Execute this command by heading over to your Edit menu and selecting the Fade Desaturate option.

Adjusting Color Blend Mode

Once you choose the Fade Desaturate command, you'll notice that a new dialog box, labeled Fade, appears. Here, you'll have the option to adjust the Blend Mode.

Leaving the opacity as it is at 100%, head over to the word Normal in the dialog box. Click on the arrow to open a drop-down menu in order to access your Blend Mode list. Finally, click on the Color option within the list.

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Making this adjustment will ensure that the desaturation you applied will only affect the colors, rather than the brightness values, in the photo. What you'll find is that this provides you with a high quality black and white photo that still shows plenty of details that were apparent in the original color image.

Want More Tips on Editing Images in Photoshop?

Photoshop is loaded with helpful tools that make the photo editing process a breeze, saving you time and giving you the opportunity to stretch your creative muscles. If you'd like to learn more tips and tricks, consider subscribing to the PT community. There, you'll gain access to a community of fellow photographers, contests you can enter to win valuable prizes, classes you can take to improve your skills, and more. 

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