New Zealand Photo
 Digital photography from
             Christchurch, New Zealand

Site Navigation
Back to Homepage
Contact us
Order images
Partner sites and links
Our blog
Ye Olde Photo Box
Photography equipment for sale

Photo Galleries
Closeups - macro lens shots
Industrial photographs
New Zealand landmark photos
New Zealand life photo gallery

Special Photo Galleries
2007 Lunar Eclipse Photographs
Black and White Photographs



Turning a colour digital photo into a black and white film look digital photo in Photoshop

A step-by-step tutorial on converting color digital photos into black & white photos with that real film look in Photoshop.

This tutorial was written for Adobe Photoshop CS3, but there is nothing specific to version CS3 and it should be applicable to most versions.

Most people when converting a colour digital photo to black and white in photoshop usually use 1 of 2 simple methods - either going IMAGE - ADJUSTMENTS - DESATURATE (shift+ctrl+U) or going IMAGE - MODE - GREYSCALE.

Now this is all very well but is a not true representation of a real black and white film photo which has greater contrast, more image depth and overall greater image impact. The simple methods mentioned above lack contrast have no image depth and appear washed out in comparison.

OK .... lets get stuck into it... load up the image you want to convert and follow the simple instructions below and I'm sure you'll love the results! I'm going to use this digital photo I took of an old rusty metal wheel down on an old farm in Christchurch New Zealand.

Step 1: Desaturate the image. IMAGE - ADJUSTMENTS - DESATURATE (shift+ctrl+U) and change the the colour space to Lab Color Lab color space - Adobe photoshop

Now, duplicate your desaturated layer LAYER - DUPLICATE LAYER, and add a high pass filter on to the duplicated layer high-pass-filterFILTER - OTHER - HIGH PASS and set a radius of 2 - 3 for small images and 10 - 12 for larger images (6 mega pixel+) and vary in between appropriately for different image sizes.

The high pass layer will increase the sharpness and contrast of the digital photographs edges.

Adjust the opacity of the Blending-mode high pass layer to something between 20% - 40% according to taste and change the layer blending mode to HARD LIGHT







level adjustment - adobe photoshop

Nearly done .. next step is to just give the overall image another contrast edit if needed by giving the levels a slight tweak. Go IMAGE - ADJUSTMENTS - LEVELS (Ctrl+L) as shown above, and bring the blacks in to make the shadows black and bring the whites in to slightly blow out the whites which reflects the low dynamic range of black and white film.

Below is the finished product next to a standard photoshop destaturated image.

black and white digital photo

Black and white film look digital photo

Standard photoshop destaurated image



   Website handcrafted by VisualTwist     -     All rights reserved     -     All artwork and imagery Copyright Visualtwist ©     -     Sitemap | Links