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Black and White

Lesson 13 from: From Capture Through Edit Using Lightroom

Jared Platt

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Lesson Info

13. Black and White

This lesson will take you through the four tools that every Black and White photographer needs to know.
Next Lesson: Retouching

Lesson Info

Black and White

I wanted to take a minute to talk about black and white photography or converting color images to black and white. And they're almost every camera out there is shooting in color, and then you're turning into black and white and post production. There are a couple very unique cameras that shoot in black and white, and there's some people have converted their cameras to black and white, so all they do is shoot black and white. For those of you who are using a camera like that, obviously you're looking at a black and white image to start with. But what I want to do is talk about converting from color to black and white, so inside of light room when you go to the black and white options. So when you go to this button that says black and white BMW, all you're doing is you're toggle ing on a specific profile, which it's called Adobe Monochrome, and that's what that black and white button is going to do. It's just going to convert it to adobe monochrome profile, which means that black and whi...

te is simply a color definitional change from color to black and white and it's using a profile to do that. Now you could. On the other hand, instead of applying a profile, you could go to the color area inside of your controls and just take the saturation all the way down to zero or negative 100%. And you would have a black and white image. And that's also possible. But the easiest way and the most rational way to do is just to click on that black and white button. Or you can also go to the profile browser and in the profile browser. If you look at the adobe raw section, you'll see there's Adobe monochrome, and so it is one profile. Now, if you go to the triple dot button up here and you say managed profiles, you'll notice that I've actually turned some off these air profiles that I never use. But that ship with Adobe Light Room and I'm going to toggle on the black and white option here and then go back and take a look and you'll see that adobe ships with a number of black and white options, different contrast levels and different color adjustments within the black and white. So, for instance, you'll see down here that there's black and white with a blue filter or with a green filter. So if you were to put a green or red or a yellow filter on your lens when you were taking black and white film in the old days, it would change the way the film saw the outside color. So, for instance, if you wanted your sky to be really, really, really dark, you would then put either an orange or red filter on your camera, and that would block and make the It would make the blue sky darker because there wouldn't be enough of that blue light getting through, uh, to the to the film and so you would get this dark, brooding sky. On the other hand, if you put a blue filter on, it would let lots of blue light through, and so then the sky would be really bright. So this is trying to mimic that. And what it's doing is it's just filtering its's looking at the color information, and it's changing it based on what colors it wants to amplify and what colors it wants to actually darken. So, um, so when you're looking at a black and white profile. You're just looking at a black and white image with color underneath it. And the profile is defining that color. Now, we talked about that before, but I needed you to understand that black and White conversion is based on profiles. Now, I've I've got my own. Here is Well, I've created black and white art pro profiles here, and I'm just going to scan through them and look for one that I like. That one looks pretty good. So I'm gonna go with that. So this is my contrast level for and notice that it immediately gives me an amount slider that I can either go down with. So now this is just normal, black and white, and this is overly using that it's using my profile by 200% which is way too much. So 100% was just fine with me. And so I'm going to stick with that, and I'm gonna go back to our edit panel now, another place that you'll work with when you're doing black and white conversion is simply in the point curve area. So when you're looking in the light panel and you're looking in the point curve area. Not only can you work with just the brightness and contrast, so this is just, uh, you know, tonal contrast here. So it's it's dealing with all colors equally. Um, instead, I could go to the Red Channel, the Green Channel or the Blue Channel. And when I'm in the Red, Green or Blue Channel, then I can actually say Okay, I want the shadows to have more blue in them and you can see that it's happening already. So the channel, the Blue Channel, is getting mawr blue in the shadows, and then I can have more warmth in the highlights, and I can change the curve so that I'm getting less yellow in the highlights. And I'm getting mawr. Shad are blue in the shadow areas, so I can really define exactly how much color I want throughout this image. And I can do this toe every single one of those channels I could do it to. The Red Channel is well, so I could take the mid tones and give them a little bit more of a red warmth to them. So now you can see that it's got kind of a purplish effect to it, but his shirt is very, very blue, and that's because of what I've done here in the Blue Channel. Aiken, bring that down a little bit. So this sure isn't quite as blue. Or I could make it really flat blue simply by monkey. With that curve, the next place that we can affect the way of black and white image looks, and we can also affect the way a color image looks with this tool. But that's the color grading and in the color grading area. If I want to add kind of a sepia tone to this image, I simply go into the shadows and grab the shadows. You see that you have shadows mid tones and highlights here to mess with. I'm gonna grab the center of the color will, and I'm just going to drag around the edges. So I pulled it out to the edges and I'm finding the color I'm interested in once I've got the color that I'm interested in. Then I congrats this center circle and start dragging it out, and by dragging it back towards the middle, I'm removing saturation so the hue has already been selected, but the saturation is now being selected, and it is going to be right about there. Perfect. And then let's say I want the highlights to have, uh, slightly different tone. So I'm going to go in and choose that. Maybe a little bit of a yellow tone. And so I'm still going to bring the saturation down to zero and barely start bringing in. I like that. Okay, so now I have that I could play with the mid tones as well and give them a completely different Hugh. And then I could bring in a little bit of saturation on that, and it makes it quite a unique look. Then I can also change the luminosity of my mid tones. I can change the luminosity of my shadows, and I can change the luminosity of my highlights. So I have a lot of control here inside of the color grading area. Then I can come down to the blending area and in the blending area. I'm basically saying, how far do these, uh, effects that I've created blend outside of their shadow mid tones and highlights? And so if I if I don't blend them at all, they're very, very targeted. And if I blend them quite a bit, they kind of bleed into each other. And then, of course, the balance I Congar Oh mawr heavily towards the shadow CPS side. Or I could go mawr heavily towards the yellow highlights side and just kind of dragged back and forth until I see what I like, which is about there. So let's zoom out and see what we've created. So I like that that looks pretty good. That was all done in the color grading area. So remember, you've got a lot of different places that you can play with the way your black and white images look. You have the color grading area. You have the black and white mixer. You also have the tone curve area and, of course, the channels on the tone curve. And then you have the black and white profile itself.

Class Materials

1. Lightroom Presets and Profiles

JP Color Pro

2. RAW Images To Follow Along With


3. Lightroom Creative Cloud Schematic

Lightroom Creative Cloud

Ratings and Reviews

Teresa Piccioni

Great great great class: Jarett explains the Lightroom workflow clearly and thoroughly. I am not a native English person and my English is quite poor but Jarett explains in a very simply and clearly way everything and I understand all chapters perfectly. Thanks guys, great job. I highly recommend this lesson to everybody,


I have watched each and everyone of Jared's classes on Creative Live and they are first class. I've waited a long time for a new one and now we have it and it's another gem. This is a wonderful overview of Lightroom and will repay watching sections (or all of it) several times to absorb the wealth of information presented. For anyone new to Lightroom, this is just what the doctor ordered.


Really in depth, so helpful! Thanks

Student Work