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How to Make a Great Black & White Photo with Photoshop Elements

written by: SparkKD•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 4/13/2010

This photo editing software tutorial will teach you how to make a good black and white photo using Photoshop Elements. The process is described with screenshots for easy understanding.

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    Adobe Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Black & White Photography

    Black & white photography is a very visually appealing form of photography where instead of a beautiful play of colours, an appealing image is borne out of an attractive combination of lighting, good composition and perspective.

    Many photographs which may look flat and unappealing when in colour may look extremely appealing in black and white due to the high dynamic range of lighting present in the photograph.

    Many cameras have an option for the photographer to capture images in black and white. However, it may not strike you while taking the photograph and at a later point, perhaps during post-processing or while reviewing the photos on the computer, you may feel that a particular photograph would look better in black & white.

    This software tutorial describes how to create a black & white photograph in Adobe Photoshop Elements.

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    Black and White Photos in Photoshop Elements

    There are multiple methods to convert your digital photos to black and white photos in Photoshop Elements. A few of them are discussed below.

    Method 1:

    The quickest method to convert a photo to black and white is to use the "Remove Color" option.

    • The menu navigation for this is Enhance --> Adjust Colour --> Remove Color
    • Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut, namely Shift + Ctrl + U.

    Method 2:

    Another method, very similar to the above method is to completely desaturate the image. This can be done as follows:

    Navigate to Enhance --> Adjust Color --> Adjust Hue / Saturation and move the Saturation Slider to the extreme left. (This has a value of -100)

    This method can be used to add hues to the image as follows:

    • Select the colorize checkbox.
    • Instead of desaturating the image completely, one can reduce the amount of saturation to an amount between 10-30.
    • Select a hue as desired by moving the slider or by changing the numeric value in the textbox.

    Method 3:

    A more powerful method is to use the Black and White Photo option available under the Enhance Menu.Adobe Photoshop Elements - Convert to Black and White 

    • The menu navigation for this is Enhance --> Convert to Black and White.
    • The keyboard shortcut is Alt + Ctrl + B

    On clicking this, the Convert to Black and White window opens as shown in the screenshot here.

    This windows displays a preview of the image in black and white, as well as various styles on the left and sliders to adjust the intensities of Red, Green and Blue on the right. Additionally there is a slider to adjust the contrast in the photograph.

    There are a variety of styles available such as Infrared Photo, Newspaper, Portraits, Scenic Landscape, Vivid Landscapes, etc.

    For a similar tutorial in Photoshop, please read this article on how to convert your digital photos to black and white in Photoshop CS3.

    For further reference, here are some interesting articles on black & white photography: