QUICK TIP X-Rite – Creative Black & White Toning

     

by Alan Winslow – October 17th, 2017

Let’s look at producing creative Black & White images in Adobe Lightroom. From the timeless and classic feel to its ability to remove distracting colors from a busy frame, there are countless reasons why photographers still enjoy photographing in Black & White. No matter what your reasons for toning Black & White Adobe Lightroom gives us some tools to tackle the job.

Method One: Presets

Lightroom comes loaded with a handful of Presets that are simply one click creative solutions to Black & White conversion. In a previous Quick-Tip, we discussed how to use and make Presets. Here’s a link to that article if you’re interested.

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

Tips:

* Remember that you can modify any Preset once selected. Feel free to use any of the sliders to make the toning truly unique.

* The navigator window allows us to get a quick glimpse as to what a Preset will look like on our image.

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

Preset Applied:

Original

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

B&W Look 3

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

The combinations are endless and limited only by your vision.

Method Two: Black and White Treatment

In the basic development panel, we have a Treatment option called Black & White. First, I recommend correcting any glaring problems you might have with the image in color. Examples include correcting the exposure, bringing any clipped highlights or shadows back, and adding a small amount of contrast.

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

After you’ve completed the toning click the Black & White button in the Treatment panel.

                        Raw Image:

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

                         Lightly Toned:

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

 

Converted to Black and White:

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

Fine tuning the conversion in the B&W Panel.

The B&W Panel allows us to work within individual color channels to lighten or darken colors to further refine the image. The B&W adjustment options are located within the HSL panel.

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

Original Conversion:

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

After small adjustments in the B&W Panel were applied.

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

Remember this is all personal preference so take the time to experiment with your images rather than relying only on the one click conversion.

Method Three: Working in the HSL panel.

Within the HSL panel select Saturation and bring each color channel to -100.

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

This method allows us the ability to make selective color adjustments because Lightroom has not completely converted the image to Black & White.

For instance, if I want the mountains to be in color after removing all the saturation I can go to my Adjustment Brush Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom increase the saturation slider Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom and paint only the mountains.

Completely B&W

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

Selective Color

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

 

To further refine this image we’re going to work in Luminance panel. Just like the B&W panel simply adjust the color sliders to achieve the desired look.

In this example below, we can see first the straight conversion to black & white then the dramatic difference when I change the blues in the Luminance panel.

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

A simple shift makes the sky much more dramatic.

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

Bonus Tool:

The Targeted Adjustment Tool will help maintain proper color tone relationships in your image while making an HSL, Color, or B&W adjustment. To use this tool click on the target located on the top left of the dialog box.

Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

Once the tool is active move your cursor over the image, a crosshair will appear. Creative Black & White toning in Adobe Lightroom

 

Next, click and hold the mouse button down and move the crosshair up or down to apply the changes. Lightroom is evaluating the colors and making adjusting each color channel accordingly.

 

And remember, that if your monitor is not properly calibrated, you may see incorrect colors and contrast values making all your corrections unusable. To learn more head over to XritePhoto.com.

 

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