wine on the keyboard

Black and White Challenge

by Kay~Kacey on 2/15/2008

Really cool photo, huh?
black and white bridge photo
Too bad I didn’t take it. My son of the very organized desk took it. I love black and white photography. He actually took this with his canon xti, in color, then photoshopped it to black and white.

I’m so learning how to do that this weekend. Anyone up for a challenge? Take one of your photos and convert it to black and white. I’ll post my photo on Monday. Feel free to leave a link to your photo in my comments, or drop a link to me with my contact form. I’ll update my post during the day and add in any links to posts that you’ve done.

According to Scott Kelby, one way to adjust color photos to black and white (and this should be similar in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements) is to make a new adjustment layer. Select Hue/Saturation. Set the Saturation to -100 (the slider all the way to the left). Create another adjustment layer. Select levels. Then in the levels box select red channel, then blue channel, then green channel. Use the sliders on each of these channels to adjust the contrast. When you’re done flatten the image. Then go to image and select grayscale from the submenu.

(okay, I have the full photoshop on my PC, but I’m not speaking to my PC right now. So I only have Photoshop Elements on my Mac. I love my Mac. :love: But I need to get the full Photoshop for my Mac.) But anyway, those instructions should basically work for either program.

Anyone up for a Black and White Challenge? Or if you’ve already done some experimenting with converting to black and white, feel free to drop a link to the pics in the comments. I’m going to spend this weekend messing around with some pics and see what kind convert to black and white the best. Stay tuned for the results on Monday!

Do you have any tips for me?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracey February 15, 2008 at 7:57 am

After you convert, flatten the layers and then drag the image in the layers box to the new layer icon to make a new duplicate layer. Then go to filter-distort-diffuse glow. Move the slider in the box for graininess to 0, the glow amount to 3-6 and the clear area to about 15. Then apply the action. It will make your white area glow. Then use the opacity slider in the layer box to reduce the effect to your liking! Then flatten again! Have fun :0)

Here is a link to one on my flickr site. There are others there too, but this one is a portrait converted to b/w:

Mental Pause Mama February 15, 2008 at 8:02 am

I am photo-shop-challenged. I need to just sit down and do it. Do you know of any good books for dummies on it?

Kacey February 15, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Tracey, I’ll have to try your hint too. Thanks! Your photo is just gorgeous!

MPM–I like any book by Scott Kelby. Or you can look online for tutorials.

Christine February 15, 2008 at 12:13 pm

I looked through my photoblog and found it amazing that I only had one photo that was B&W:

So, I’ll play too this weekend. :D

BTW, this is a great tutorial for GIMP people (the poor man’s Photoshop):
And a quick Photoshop tips page:

One thing I am noticing is everything I can do in GIMP, I can do in Photoshop and vice versa. The menu items may be a bit different but the basic concepts (layers and masks, etc.) are the same.

Jeannelle February 15, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I love the bridge photo! A good choice for converting to B&W. Great contrasts.

Suzanne February 15, 2008 at 1:17 pm

That’s a great photo! I need to find time to work on learning Photoshop better….

Tori Lennox February 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm

I love black & white photography. Reminds me of the legendary Ansel Adams. :) I’ve never done any converting that I can recall. Though I have done some tweaking (a long long time ago in a land far far away) on old photographs that were black & white. I tweaked them into sepia tones just to see how they’d look. :)

Jeannelle February 15, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Here’s my black & white photo at

(I don’t know how to do a link in a comment.)

colleen February 15, 2008 at 5:54 pm

I actually saw your name as Racey and thought that was the name of the shot and in my mind I saw a car racing across the bridge. Must be under the influence of the flu.

Kate February 15, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Hmmm, I’ve been playing with this. I think I might have a go at it.

Kate February 16, 2008 at 4:45 pm

I don’t know if I took your challenge properly. But I did post a couple of b&w photos. They’re of people.

Here’s the link:

Have a great weekend and talk with you later! :coffee2:

annbb February 17, 2008 at 10:41 am

Jeannelle I’m right there with you. How DO you put a link in the comments section, Kacey??

Go to Saturday on my blog and you’ll see my black and white entry….or just go to the first picture on Sunday!

Love the bridge photo.


Kate February 17, 2008 at 5:27 pm

I did it again. Now I am obsessed.

(not really).

must stop playing with photoshop!!!

Kate February 17, 2008 at 5:28 pm
LauraP February 17, 2008 at 6:29 pm

I’m still learning photoshop but will give it a try — check http://www.realdirt.blogspot for a couple of attempts.

littlepurplecow June 10, 2008 at 10:01 am

Love that image. Thanks for sharing at Shutter Sisters. How great that you can collaborate with your son! I often convert my images to B&W. Here’s one of my favorites:

Sienna May 7, 2009 at 11:33 am

It is very easy to make your photo black&white on a mac. You simply open iPhoto, select the picture you want to convert, click (it’s either) ‘effects’ or ‘edit'; it should be near the bottom.. then on the gbox that has different effects- click black and white and- tada! There you have it!
I love photoshop, but for something as simple as this, it’s just too many steps. I <3 my mac too! :love: yay!
=] Sienna.

TK January 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

I have to say, BY FAR the easiest way to desaturate in PS is to go to Image>Adjustements>Desaturate.
Or press Ctrl+Shift+U.
Either way, it takes about one-point-five seconds.

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