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How to Convert Color Digital Images into Black and White Ones

UPDATE: Learn more about Black and White Photography with our new Essential Guide to Black and White Photography.

As part of our series of posts on Black and White Photography the following tip on converting images from color to black and white was submitted by DPS reader – Frank Lazaro. You can see his photography at his Flickr page.



With the proliferation of digital photography, people have now started to look at ways to recreate what film has done for them, including recreating a black and white photo.

There are numerous ways to make a digital black and white, some include:

1. In camera filter – By changing a setting in the camera menu to take a black and white photo. Essentially this is a built-in color de-saturation method that removes the color information after the camera takes the picture. I won’t be covering this method in this article.

Pros: Easy, simple and does not require any knowledge or post processing to create a black and white photo.
Cons: Limits the contrast and dynamic range of the photos. In my personal experience, leaves the photo looking washed out or flat.

2. Post Processing – There are various methods in creating a black and white in a post processing environment.

I’ll cover several here. Please note, when I refer to Photoshop, I am using the generic term to mean using any photo editing tool with similar feature, such as Gimp or Photoshop Elements. There are also numerous plug-ins for Photoshop that will convert to Black and White as well. It is not possible; or rather I do not have the time to go over each one, so I will cover the ones that are the most popular in my opinion.


Read more from our Post Production category

Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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