One Simple Step to Richer Black and White Images in Photoshop

A quick little editing tutorial for you today, showing you how you can use one simple trick to get a richer black and white conversion in Photoshop.  It's so simple, but instantly gives a much deeper result than simply using the grayscale or the black and white conversion provided by Photoshop. In fact, it's so simple, I'm almost too embarrassed to share it! 

I'm obviously not quite embarrassed enough, so here's how you do it:

STEP ONE - OPEN YOUR PHOTO

Open the color photo you want to convert to black and white. Here's my original photo that we are going to use for this tutorial. 

STEP TWO - CHANGE FOREGROUND COLOR TO BLACK

Before we go any further, we want to make sure that we have the foreground color set to black. See your tools panel? At the bottom is two boxes, almost on top of one another, one black adn one white.  Simply press the letter D to bring the Foreground color to black. It will now have the black box on top of the white box.

STEP THREE -  CHOOSE A GRADIENT MAP ADJUSTMENT LAYER

Go to >LAYER, >NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER >GRADIENT MAP

When the gradient map dialogue box appears, just click OK. This should instantly give you a good black and white conversion that has good depth!

See, told you it was simple :) 

This is my original image converted using Photoshop's Black and White conversion on the top, and the bottom  one is the same image converted using the steps above. You can really see the different look each conversion applies - there may be times when one is better than the other, but if you want a richer look, then Gradient Map does the job better ;) 

You can also get your hands on the black and white action I created for all my own black and white images, which has the base black and white conversion as laid out for you above, plus extra layers for adding contrast, deeper shadows, and options for warming and matte effects.  It's available in our free library of photography resources for subscribers - just click on the banner below to get access!