Bold beautiful B&W
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine|November 2020
Bold beautiful B&W
James Paterson demonstrates how to use the best monochrome tools and settings for your portraits in Lightroom and Photoshop CC
James Paterson


Create a punchy black and white portrait in Lightroom and Photoshop

Time needed

10 minutes

Skill level


Kit needed

Photoshop CC

Black and white treatments and portraiture go hand in hand. But what’s the best way to strip out the colour, and what other edits can we make to enhance the monochrome image? In this tutorial, we’ll explore a few techniques you can use to create stunning black and white portraits, from the best conversion tools to essential enhancements like dodging and burning.

Converting a photo to black and white shouldn’t just be an ‘effect’, there should be a reason behind the change. Perhaps the monochrome tones enhance the subject, or emphasize the composition, or draw attention to textures and form. Or perhaps the colour is a distraction, and removing it ensures the viewer focuses on the main aspects of the photo. With portraits in particular, colour is sometimes an unnecessary addition. By stripping it away, we can draw the focus to things like the expression and shape. Besides, we’re all very accustomed to seeing people in colour. We know what colour skin tones and hair are without needing to be shown, so we don’t necessarily need them to be present in an image.


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November 2020