Lightroom: How To Convert Your Photos to Black and White

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a less expensive version of the full version of Photoshop, but users can still do a lot of photo editing in this program. Users can even convert color photos into black and white via Lightroom. And, while this can dramatically change the look of photos, it's actually quite easy to do, and everyone can take advantage of this neat technique.

Step 1: Why Convert Photos to Black and White?

Black and white often gives photos an interesting, even dramatic look. This is especially true for nature or landscaping photographs. For example, winter photographs might look good in color. Changing them to black and white, however, can bring out the white of the snow and the darkness of the trees, creating deep contrasts.

Black and white photographs can also change standard family photos into frame-worthy works of art. For example, pictures of the children can be converted into black and white and placed in a black frame. These can then be given to the grandparents for holidays, birthdays and the like.

Step 2: Converting the Picture into Black and White

The first step to converting a picture into black and white is choosing a picture and opening it in Lightroom. Try to imagine whether or not the selected picture would even look good in black and white. If a photographer believes that would be the case, then they should try changing the picture.

Lightroom comes with a keyboard shortcut to quickly change pictures from color into black and white. But, before a photographer changes the picture, he should save the experimental copy by a different name. This will ensure that the original is not lost.

Or, users can take a snapshot of the original image. Not only will it keep a copy of the original, it will also give users the ability to compare the new photo with the old. To create a snapshot, follow the below procedures:

  1. Go to Develop.
  2. Maximize the Snapshots panel.
  3. Select the + (plus) on the panel.
  4. It should be something like Color (Photo Name) or something similar.

Users should always use Snapshots when manipulating photos since it will speed up the process. Next, hit the V key. This will automatically remove all color from the photograph. Now, it's time to decide if the picture looks good without color. If not, the user can just hit the V key again to reinstate the color.

Step 3: Using the Basic Grayscale Panel

The Basic Grayscale panel will allow users to further manipulate the photo with sliders to make the contrast lighter or deeper. For example, on the Grayscale Mix panel, which is located under the Grayscale tab, uses can make pictures more dramatic. Users can click on the icon located in the top-left corner. Then, users can click within the picture and drag the cursor. This tool can then be used to brighten or darken the area based on the sliders. To light the sliders, drag them to the right. To darken them, drag them to the left.