7 Steps for Advanced Black and White Editing in Adobe Lightroom

Black and white photography moved from a necessity to a decision long ago, but it is still revered and enjoyed today as one of the primary forms to display a photograph. However, editing from color into black and white can take some time to master and create truly memorable results. In this video, go through an advanced seven-step process for turning a basic black and white edit into a masterful one.

I have never been able to fully unpack why I enjoy black and white photography so much. When I started photography I used it how many beginners do: to try to mop up sloppy, forgettable images and shape them into something good. That, of course, never worked. Gradually, over the years, I learned what sort of scenes would work well in black and white and then I experimented with processing techniques to get the most out of them. Now, I see black and white images before I've even raised my camera.

That sort of reaction to a scene — knowing it needs to be captured in black and white — is the result of a few key elements. Of course, contrast, light, composition, and all the theory behind good photography ought to be in place. But, equal to that in many ways, you also need to know what is and is not possible in post-production. When you open up that raw file, you should know before touching a slider, just what can be achieved. It's only then that you can really spot great images that others may miss.

Watch Pye Jirsa as he takes you through his process in seven steps.

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Sam Sims's picture

This video is great for black and white photography if you use Capture One. Personally think Capture One produces better results.


Jon Kellett's picture

I have to say it, I hate his results.

I found his results to be overdone and lacking in finesse. Using the calibration panel was an interesting touch though.

A good black and white process isn't a simple matter of shadows-midtones-highlights, but bringing out the spirit of the scene and using the process to direct attention.

Christina Brittain's picture

Pye Jirsa is a talented presenter. However, his constant use of the completely unnecessary phrase 'sort of' becomes really irritating after a few minutes of listening. It is just a filler that he may not even be aware of using. Please point this out to him as it would improve his presentations immensely.