How I Do Black & White Photos

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donyaluana-blackandwhite-process-00

I've been fielding a few questions recently about my black and white images, so I thought it would be perfect for a blog post.

I'm a huge fan of color, but when it comes to photography, I have a soft spot for black and whites.  They help expressions shine through, they help focus your eye, and they're just plain beautiful!  But there are hundreds of ways to convert a photo to black and white.  Below are the ways I do black and white photos, in three different spaces.

donyaluana-blackandwhite-process-01
donyaluana-blackandwhite-process-01

On in iPhone.  The majority of the photos I take these days are on my iPhone.  Not a big surprise, right?  For over a year now, my go to iPhone editing app has been PicTapGo.  There are many other fantastic apps out there that do great black and white conversions, but I just love the control of PicTapGo.  'Milk & Cookies', 'Power', and 'Simple BW' are my fave black and white filters, and then I usually add a bit of 'Lights On', 'Crispity', and 'Skinny Jeans' to increase the contrast and brightness to my liking.

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donyaluana-blackandwhite-process-02

In Lightroom.  My DSLR comes in at a very close second for personal usage these days and I import all of my photos onto my computer through Lightroom.  Again, there are numerous computer programs out there that do a terrific job of importing, organizing, and editing your photos, this is just my preferred method.

I use VSCO presets and primarily stick to the black and whites in the VSCO Modern Films 01, then remove the added grain (just not a fan).  And similar to my iPhone process, I'll usually bump up the brightness and contrast as needed after applying the black and white preset.

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donyaluana-blackandwhite-process-04

In Photoshop.  Occasionally I'll convert to black and white in Photoshop.  This is usually when I'm planning out a Project Life spread digitally and I want to quickly turn a color image into black and white.  If I'm changing it at this point it's usually for one of two reasons.  Because I liked the colored version a lot, but it will work better in my spread as a black and white, or it was a photo I took on my iPhone but have yet to edit it at all before loading it onto my computer.

For this situation, I have created my own Photoshop Action (seen in green above, called DLP BW).  By making it an Action, it only takes one click to convert the photo.  The action quickly adds three layers above my photo and if I do want to adjust the photo further, I usually play with the Levels Adjustment layer to lighten it up.  If there's interest, I'd love to share the Action along with a little more info on how to use it.

Hope that helps!  If you have any further questions, please post in the comments.

related: iPhone photography tutorial