• Anthony Turnham

Processing Black and White Landscape Photos in Lightroom

Updated: Aug 21, 2018

Creating stunning black and white landscape photos isn't easy. Rather than seeing in colour and tones we need to strip an image back to only its values of black, white and the greys in between. With Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop it's easy to do - but not so easy to do well. So through this tutorial I hope to throw some light onto what photo editing tools we have at our disposal to bring out the best in our black and whites.


Black and white landscape taken on the Abel Tasman track

KEY CONCEPTS IN CREATING GREAT BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS

A black and white landscape photo is, at its core, simply a study of contrast. Whether that be local contrast that defines the fine details in the scene, for instance the texture in the bark of a tree trunk, or the overall contrast that defines the scene as a whole, for example silhouetted black trees against a bright sky. So naturally tools that can help us define, refine and shape this contrast are our friends in the editing process.


So with this being said, some great places to focus our attention are during the black and white conversion are:


1. The Contrast Slider - great for overall contrast

2. A Combination of the highlights/shadows, blacks and white sliders - great for refining the brightness values within the photos contrast'.

3. The Clarity Slider - Fantastic way to control the local contrast

4. Curves - the curves panel is brilliant at helpi us to fine tune our contrast

5. Local Adjustment Brushes/Gradients - One of the most powerful ways to craft specific areas rather than the whole black and white photo


A viewer's eye is naturally drawn to the brightest part of an image. This is actually pretty powerful knowledge we can use when editing our black and white photo. We can use local adjustments to help guide our viewers eye to the areas of a photograph we feel are more important.


For example we can use




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