Lightroom in Black and White

by Ken Milburn

Black and White photography has become popular all over again. In my opinion, that's happening for two reasons: (1) Digital photography has made color the de-facto standard, so we're now seeing more color images than black and white. (2) That which is rare tends to be more eye-catching. Not only are we seeing more black and white, but more de-saturated color. The latter has already been covered in Michael Clark's DeSaturating Lightroom blog.

There are lots of tools in traditional image-editing software that help to convert images to black and white. Nevertheless, I'm convinced that Lightroom can do most of the job better and faster. Once you've covered the basics, you can always tweak the regional areas in Photoshop or any other standard image editor. The rest of this blog will demonstrate the tools you can use and the results they produce.

Telegraph hill color2.jpg


Sean McCormack
2007-04-19 17:07:33
Hi Ken,
Black and White in Lightroom is indeed a great experience. Just a comment to say that clicking on Grayscale in Lightroom is not the same as in Photoshop. Lightroom applies an Auto function on grayscale that attempts to balance the colour elements in an image as a B&W. Sometimes it can be effective, other times, merely a starting point. However, it does not simply remove the colour the way a desaturate or grayscale command would.
Gary Von Neida
2007-07-24 19:04:04
2007-09-15 07:32:14
mr milburn,
I'm having a recurring issue in lightroom where my black and white images are auto-converting to color after being imported into lightroom. Have you run across this and do you know if a preference setting that will retain my b&w originals?
Thanks ~matt

Thanks for bringing this up. I had noticed it once, but wasn't sure I hadn't done something wrong and was trying to meet a deadline and it hasn't come up agian because I haven't been doing any BW conversions for several weeks. I'll certainly look into this, though. Sounds like a good topic for a future blog.