Get Better Black and White Images: Basic Photoshop methods

Are you using the best method for converting photos to black and white? 

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Are you using the best method for converting photos to black and white? There are a number of techniques to convert a color image to black and white for your customers. Here are four basic methods:

  1. Color mode: With your file open, select Image > Mode > Grayscale. Click “Okay” to disregard the color information. This method is considered to be destructive, meaning the original file has been altered, and offers you no editing control.
  2. Adjustment: Another commonly used method is selecting Image > Adjustments > Black & White. This will convert your color image to a grayscale image. There are some sliders to allow you limited control on over-the-color editing as well as an Auto button. This technique, while giving a nice black and white image, is also destructive.
  3. Lab mode conversion: This technique changes the color mode from RGB to Lab. From the top menu bar, choose Image > Mode > Lab Color. You won’t notice a color change until you open the Channels window. In the top menu option, select Channels to open the window. Click on the Lightness channel layer; the other channels will turn off or hide. Next, convert the color mode by going to Image Mode > Grayscale. You can now change it to RGB for sublimation printing.
  4. Desaturation: Select Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation; a new window will pop open. Move the Hue slider all the way to the left (-100) to remove the color from the image. This can be applied as an adjustment layer, which is non-destructive.

-Jennifer Foy, Unisub

Jennifer Foy

Jennifer Foy


Jennifer Foy has over 20 years of experience using Adobe software and working in the advertising, marketing, and design fields. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and a Master of Arts in Advertising from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. Her years of teaching experience include numerous software and design classes for colleges in Atlanta, Georgia, and Louisville, Kentucky. Jennifer is currently working as the Creative Director at Universal Woods with the Unisub and ChromaLuxe brands. Jennifer can be reached by email at [email protected]

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