This dramatic black and white image began as a color image and was converted and customized in Adobe Lightroom CC.

Get Moody with Black and White Photos

There’s something about photos in black and white. Without colors to tell a story, your creative editing is key to setting the mood. This short Adobe Lightroom tutorial will teach you how to quickly convert a color photo to black and white and then enhance its compositional elements.

Click to watch the 1-minute tutorial video.

If you’d like to practice with the image you see in the video above, you can download that file and open it in Adobe Lightroom CC. The steps below also work on your own color images.

  1. In the upper-right corner, click the Edit icon.
  2. To quickly convert a color photo, click Presets from the bottom of the Edit panel and open the B&W preset category. In the video above, we selected B&W High Contrast, but you may prefer another preset. You can preview each preset by mousing over it.
  3. Bring your own artistry to the overall image by moving the edit sliders, which customizes the preset’s settings.
  4. Now it's time to call attention to the most important element of this image: the woman's face. Select the Radial Gradient and drag an oval over her face. Check Invert and tweak the sliders until you like the effect. We reduced the Exposure and Highlights to bring the drama.
  5. We like the effect, but we want to bring back a few fronds from the darkness. Be sure the Radial Gradient is selected; then use Lightroom’s Eraser to brush over those fronds and remove the adjustment.
  6. When you are satisfied with the edited image, the only thing left to do is to save it.