When you remove the color from an image and
create a black-and-white image, you remove some
of the reality from the scene. Removing some of
the reality can create a more artistic image. What’s
more, a black-and-white image can, but not al-
ways, have more impact and look more dramatic
than a color photograph.
In Photoshop CS3, it’s easy to create a beautiful
In this lesson, I discuss techniques for creating
a black-and-white image from a color file, and
more! To illustrate these techniques, I’ll use a pic-
ture of a holy man whom I photographed in the
Kingdom of Bhutan.
I used Adjustment Layers (LayerNew Adjust-
ment Layer) for my enhancements, as I recom-
mend to all my workshop students when making
adjustments. However, to save time and to save
having to write LayerNew Adjustment Layer
for each adjustment, I will go right to the Adjust-
The photo above is the original image. Sure, I like
the saturated colors. However, as I do with all of
my favorite images, I experimented with black-
and-white imaging for creative possibilities.
Subtle colors are the opposite of saturated colors—
the kinds of colors we used to get when shooting
super-saturated films. For a softer, subtler image,
I used the Hue/Saturation adjustment in Photo-
shop CS3 and moved the Saturation slider almost
all the way to the left.
As you can see, I still have a color photograph, but
the less-intense colors produce a softer image.
With my full-color image opened once again,
I used the Black and White adjustment and ad-
justed the sliders, one for each tone/channel, until
I was pleased with what I saw. Experiment with
these sliders. They give you total control over the
color channels in your image. That’s unlike using
ModeGrayscale, which changes all the channels
in one fell swoop!
Even with all those channel sliders at my finger-
tips, I felt that the image looked a bit flat. So, I
boosted the contrast using the Brightness/Con-
trast adjustment. You’ll find that, by boosting the
contrast of your low-contrast images, such as the
one I am sharing in this lesson, your pictures will
look stronger and brighter.
Here’s the black-and-white version of my color
image after applying all of the aforementioned ad-
Other creative enhancements are available to you
in the Black and White dialog box. Click on the
Tint box and you can change the hue and satura-
tion of the image.
After checking the Tint box, I played around
with the Saturation slider to create this sepia tone
i m a g e .