Turning your colour photos into a black and white landscape is a great way to add impact, drama and emotion to your scenes. Landscape photographers (read The 10 Commandments of Landscape Photography – and how to break them) have traditionally gravitated to mono using the traditional darkroom.
However, today it’s a lot less hassle and relatively easy to get great results quickly in the digital darkroom using photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop CS and Elements.
Our Photoshop tutorial below will show you how to use the numerous sliders within the Photoshop black and white conversion palette so you can learn how to fine tune your black and white landscape when photo editing (find out the 6 photo editing steps every photographer should know).
The Black and White tool works by enabling you to vary the luminance levels of eight individual colour ranges independently. Here’s how…
How to use the Photoshop Black and White tool for mono landscapes
Step 1: Use the sliders
Drag a colour slider to make the grey tones of that colour range darker or brighter. The strip above shows how light the tone will be.
Step 2: Be more precise
Click within your image and drag to the right or left to lighten or darken those tones. Click Preset Options to save your greyscale mix.
Black and White Photo Editing Tip!
Be cautious when making mono conversions as radical shifts can quickly lead to serious quality issues, such as halos, blocking, noise and banding.
For this reason it’s crucial to keep an eye on your image at 100% magnification when you make changes.
Black and White conversion palette explained
NOTE: If you found this chart above helpful, simply drag and drop it on to your desktop to save a larger version of this infographic as a handy reference the next time you’re editing photos. We have a lot more photography cheat sheets like this one, as well.
Photoshop Elements’ Black and White tool
As with CS, Elements has an in-built Black and White tool, and while it’s lite in comparison and doesn’t have an Adjustment Layer option, it’s still a powerful asset. To access it, go to Enhance> ConvertToBlackAndWhite.