Easy Peasy B&W

Someone mentioned (HI Nicola!!) I should do a tutorial on how I convert my photographs to Black and White. So I thought I’d give it a go.  Now let  me go ahead and mention that I am mostly self taught. I’ve taken some photography courses (most back in the dark ages of film) but when it comes to photoshop/lightroom I’ve just read a lot and played around even more.   I use LightRoom for 99.9% and although I have photoshop I just really can’t be bothered. Most of my post-prod work is just a tweak here and there. My aim is to nail the photograph in camera that way I just have to adjust white balance and do a bit of cropping. LightRoom is super cheap compared to Photoshop so that’s an added bonus. It might not be the best or easiest way to do it but it’s the best and easiest way for me.


Original: For this photo I placed Squidge by the door in the dining room and I stood outside.  She is looking out towards out back garden which is east facing and it’s about a little bit after 1pm.  It’s my sweet spot and I’m looking forward to decorating this room so that I don’t have to worry about the naff wallpaper!
black and white tutorial-2


Crop: I start by cropping the photo and straightening it if necessary. In this photo I simply cropped out the bit of the door frame at the left.

black and white tutorial (crop)

brightness: When I convert to B&W I always up the brightness. I just up it until I’m happy. 25% for this photo.
black and white tutorial (brightness 25%)

clarity: I also usually up the clarity. I think black and white photographs can handle it and it makes the photos just a tad bit sharper. Clarity upped by 21%
black and white tutorial (clarity 21%)

blacks: I also always up my blacks when converting to black and white. I think grayscaling dulls the photo a bit so I nudge it up a smidge- 8%. I usually up the blacks once I convert to grayscale but when I was saving the photo for the tutorial I did this step before conversion. I should probably have done it again but hey ho just do what you like.
black and white tutorial (blacks 8%)

convert to grayscale: click the convert to grayscale button and voila! Like I said this would be the point where I tweak the blacks as you can’t really tell how much you need to do until it’s been converted.
black and white tutorial (convert to grayscale)


The entire process takes me about 3 minutes. No layers to save and I can undo or compare what I have done in seconds.

black and white tutorial-2black and white tutorial (convert to grayscale)


  1. Nicola Ridings
    January 18, 2012 /

    Thank you so much, it does help if you’re good at taking the shots in the first place. I don’t have lightroom but I do have Picasa, not sure you can do all those alterations in that though. Your photographs are amazing.

    • Lindy
      January 20, 2012 /

      I think you can do some if not most of this on Picassa.