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How to Make a Dramatic Black & White Photo Effect in Photoshop

How to Make a Dramatic Black & White Photo Effect in Photoshop

Photoshop Photo Effects

In Photoshop there are many different methods to convert a color photo to a black & white image. Some methods are very quick while others require more time, but you'll often need to convert each photo individually. The method I will show you today will give you a professional-looking result, but also gives you the ability to change parameters for each individual photo afterwards while giving you a good baseline effect to use each time. As every image is unique, the settings I will show you here should be taken as just a basis for all of your images and you may need to adjust values depending on your photo.

But before we begin, and if you want to follow this tutorial exactly as described, please download the following free image from Unsplash: Download

Step 1

Open the image you want to turn into Black & White in Photoshop.

Step 2

Go to Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.

Step 3

Go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter.

Step 4

In the Edit row, click the "B&W" button.

Step 5

Expand the Basic tab and apply the following settings.

Step 6

Expand the Curve tab. Be sure to select the Parametric Curve option and apply the following settings.

Step 7

Next, expand the Detail tab and set the Sharpening to 45.

Step 8

Expand the B&W Mixer tab, apply the following settings and click OK.

Step 9

Now that the effect is made, a good idea is to save it as a Preset to use it over any other image you want without having to adjust the settings again. To do that, click on the Presets icon in the Camera Raw window and then on the Create Preset icon.

Step 10

Give the Preset a name, check the following fields and click OK. The next time you want to turn a color photo into a dramatic Black & White one, simply navigate to Presets in the Camera Raw window and select it.

A Final Tip

If you later want to adjust some of the Black & White effect settings, simply click on the down arrow of the image layer to reveal the layer effects and then double click on "Camera Raw Filter" to open the Camera Raw window, make your adjustments and then click Ok in the Camera Raw window.


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