Better black and white in photoshop tutorial

I am really big into photo enhancing and feel that your pictures should be the centerpiece of your digital scrapbook pages. I do not have the money for a really expensive camera so I usually enhance most of my photos. I am going to try and write a black & white tutorial for Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop Elements, and Gimp. I am starting with Photoshop. I also wanted to add since I am self taught there may be some extra steps, but this is just how *I* do it and I like the results so thought I’d share. I realize not everybody needs screen shots for every step, but I like to include them for those who do.

Here is my starting picture. This was not the best picture to start with, but I figured that would be all the better for using this one.

Here is my ending picture.

A lot of you have probably learned to do black & white by either going to Image > Desaturate or switching to greyscale. Here’s what my photo would look like if I had used desaturate to make it black and white. No matter how I adjusted the levels it still looked drab.

Not very exciting. Okay, now on to my tutorial.

Step 1. I almost always use an unsharpen mask on my photos. Sometimes I don’t if it looks bad, but most of the time I do. To get to the Unsharpen mask go to Filters> Sharpen> Unsharpen Mask (screen shot below)

I normally set my unsharpen mask at Amount: 50, Radius: 5, Threshhold: 0. Sometimes I go higher and sometimes lower, but that’s a good place to start. There are a few pictures that I won’t use the unsharpen mask on, but not many.

Step 2. Switch to Lab Color. Go up to the top where it says Image > Mode and switch from RGB color to Lab color.

Next you want to go over to the channel palette. It’s right with the layer palette and you want to select the lightness channel.

Step 3. Adjust the levels on the lightness channel. With the lightness channel still selected go to Image > Adjust > Levels to adjust the levels on this channel. You will want to slide the sliders around the one to the far left I usually drag to the right and I’ll play around with the middle slider until I get where it looks right to me. I left my settings for this photo in the screen shots.

Step 4. Go to Select all > Copy with the lightness channel still selected and then paste it into a new document. Once it is in a new document switch the mode back to RGB (like you did above this time picking RGB instead of lab color Image > Mode > RGB color)

Step 5. Channel Mixer. Go to Image > Adjust > Channel Mixer. We are going to increase the green. You will want to tick the check box next to monochrome and then slide the green slider over to the right. I set mine anywhere from as little as 4 to as high as 24.

Step 6. My last step is to sharpen the photo. Go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen.

And here is the final results again.


8 responses to “Better black and white in photoshop tutorial

  1. Great tutorial Teresa!!

  2. You are awesome! And so clear too.

  3. can’t wait for PSP tutorial…. I will try this one too, since I have both programs… I love learning new stuff… ty

  4. I just had to say thank you so much for this great tutorial. I have gotten into restoring pictures so this will be great. Can you tell me if there is a tutorial done in this same way for creating a Quick Page? Sorry for bothering you but am desperate. Thank you in advance for what ever help you can give.

  5. That’s amazing! I’m waiting for the PSE version b/c this won’t work for it! 🙂

  6. Juliet I sent you an email.

  7. Thank you for this tutorial. Really great! I don’t know anything about editing photos, this one a big help 🙂


  8. What a dramatic difference in the photo! Thank you for this tut! I am going to have to try this!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s