How to Make a Picture Black and White in Photoshop

With a complex editing program like Photoshop, there isn't just one setting for "black and white". Instead, you have full control over how colors are converted, which can result in a tinted grayscale with more character.


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Learning how to make a picture black and white in Photoshop is easy, and there are plenty of built-in presets to get you started. 

  1. First, open your color photo in Photoshop. To load the Black and White settings, select "Image" from the top menu, then "Adjustments", and then "Black & White". A new dialog box will appear with a variety of color sliders. 

  2. Next, you have the option of choosing a grayscale preset, adjusting the color conversion manually, or clicking "Auto" to let Photoshop analyze the color values and create a grayscale mix. The latter option is usually great when starting out, and then you can fine-tune the color sliders from there. 

  3. Meanwhile, if you come up with a custom grayscale mix that you'd like to use on future projects, it's easy to save as a preset. Just click on the drop-down menu as if you're going to select a preset, and then choose "Save Black & White Preset".

  4. When using the color sliders, you can move them to the left to darken the original color — so that the resulting grayscale tone is darker as well — and move them to the right for a lighter tone. Enabling the "Tint" box will enable a subtle color tone on your grayscale image, so unless you're looking for a slight brown or green tint to the picture, leave the box unchecked. 

  5. Within the Black and White dialog box, there is also a "Preview" option that allows you to immediately see how a grayscale mix looks. This is extremely helpful when trying out different presets and custom mixes to see what works best. 

  6. When you're happy with the grayscale settings, click OK. Then, select the main File menu and choose "Save As" to save a new copy of your image, while still retaining the color version. Now that you know how to make a picture black and white in Photoshop, try using the same tools for more creative and unconventional results!

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