Monday, March 11, 2013

How to use the Black & White Adjustement Layer in Photoshop

Hello! It's been a week since I last updated. Sorry about that. To make up for the downtime, here's a quick and easy Photoshop tutorial that you can use to improve your photos! This time, I'm going to teach you how to use the Black & White Adjustment Layer. It's a great way to make your photos more dramatic.

This little girl insisted on being on the blog again LOL

You may be thinking: "HOLD UP. Why should I bother using an adjustment layer when I can simply convert the photo to grayscale?"

Well, you can do that, but more often than not, converting to grayscale makes the photo look flat. The Black & White adjustment layer lets you add more dimension to your black and white photos. You'll the difference in a bit. :D

Step 1: Open the photo you wish to edit on Photoshop. I'm using CS5 for this tutorial, but it should work for versions as low as CS3.

Step 2: On the bottom of your Layers panel, click on this symbol and select Black and White.

Step 3: The Black & White adjustment panel should pop out. It has a bunch of sliders that look intimidating, but they're really easy to use. Basically, what it means is if you slide the marker to the left, the brighter/whiter that particular color will be. If you slide the marker to the left, the darker/blacker it becomes.

For example, if you check the original photo I posted above, you'll see that her lips are red. In the adjustment layer panel, I slid the marker of the Reds slider to the left a little bit to make them dark in black and white to contrast with the lightness of her skin and hair (which are yellowish in hue, therefore, I slid the Yellows slider marker to right to make it brighter).

The amount of brightness/darkness for every hue depends from photo to photo. Just play around with the sliders to find the right balance. You'll get the hang of it in no time. :D

Step 4: Once you're happy with the result, you can save that already. Insta-drama, right? But you can add more punch to it by adding a light hint of color to the photo. You can do that by ticking the Tint check box at the upper middle part of the Black & White adjustment layer panel. Then you may select the color you want to use by clicking on the color square beside it to access the color picker dialog box. I chose a light pink color for this one.

Tada! And you're done! Here are the final results compared to the grayscale version:

Grayscale. It's okay, but it's kinda bland, don't you think?

Black & white version using the adjustment layer. Much more dynamic!

And here's the tinted version!
That's it! I hope it was helpful. ^_^


  1. Nick Chou12:10 AM

    Dang. No black and white for me. Oh well!

    Cool tutorial though. It does give a more vibrant feeling to it, and you can still control the RGB scale, which I think is much more interesting.

  2. Xhanthi Black12:36 AM

    Great tutorial and great advice for BW photos!

  3. Anastasia Fedorova6:18 AM

    Thank you! Very useful tutorial! :)

  4. Aww boo. Upgrade your Photoshop! ;D

  5. You're welcome! :D

  6. Thanks a lot! It was really useful. :)

  7. You're welcome. :D


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