How To: Convert Color Photos to Grayscale
Give color a rest by incorporating black and white.

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While color photos tend to be the most popular, black and white photos are timeless and classy. Some photos actually look better in black and white.

Want to convert your color photos to black and white to give them a different feel? Here are five tips to show you how to do it.

If you want to convert the image in one click, you can simply change its color mode. To do so, go to Image>Mode>Grayscale.

Be careful because this conversion will discard all the color information of your image and won’t leave you any room for special edits, so it’s generally not recommended.

How to Convert Color Photos to Grayscale 1

Another easy and quick way to convert the photo is to use Desaturate. Go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate. The image is instantly turned into a monochrome image.

This method will work perfectly with some images. However, it gives you very little space to work with. In some cases, the results will look flat and boring. For more customization, follow one of the other methods.

How to Convert Color Photos to Grayscale 2

Black and White is a tool specifically designed for color to monochrome conversion. To use it, go to Image>Adjustments>Black and White.

Adjust the various sliders for reds, yellows, greens, cyans, blues and magentas until your photo looks right. Add a color tint over the photo if you want.

How to Convert Color Photos to Grayscale 3

Channel Mixer’s way of working is similar to Black and White’s. You just have to adjust the primary color channels for the color mode you’re using (red, green and blue if you’re in RGB mode or cyan, magenta, yellow and black if you are in CMYK).

Tick the “Monochrome” box located at the bottom of the window, and then move the various sliders until the results look satisfactory.

How to Convert Color Photos to Grayscale 4

There are a number of plugins, both available as standalone programs and with other image editors like Photoshop, that will help you convert your images and make it effortless to achieve “artistic” effects.

Some favorites are Silver Efex, Alien Skin Exposure and Magic Bullet Photolooks.

How to Convert Color Photos to Grayscale 5

Converting photos from color to grayscale is very easy, but making a black and white image truly awesome requires careful editing. Use these tips as a starting point to create your own beautiful black and white images.

Sample image Anton Belovodchenko. Edited in Photoshop CS5. Featured photo:

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
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  1. I love gray photos! So much more unique looking imo.