The Art of Black & White Editing

Black and White or monochrome conversion can transform an image into a stunning work of art. They have a timeless feel, especially if they are converted and treated well. Although many of the philosophies in great imagery don’t change between colour and black and white images, the way we process them does.

In this workshop, we’ll discuss the qualities of great black and white images, viewing some of the world’s best. We’ll work through the maze of black and white conversion methods, including their advantages and disadvantages. We look at when images should be converted to create the cleanest results. Finally, we’ll work on 4 separate images editing them from beginning to end. Working through the techniques used to convert, and all the tools and steps used to reach the final image.

This is a comprehensive workshop covering a complete monochrome workflow, and it’s sure to have you creating your own masterpieces in no time. Luminosity Masks are a tool used in some steps of the editing, but is only a tool. You can follow these steps no matter which method, tool or product you use for creating luminosity masks. If you don’t use luminosity masks, you will still get a great deal from this workshop.

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What Works in Black and White & Why

In most respects, what works in black and white images versus colour images is very similar. We’ll explore when an image may have more impact if converted to black and white.

Duration: 52 minutes

We’ll discuss the attributes of an impactful monocrhome image. We view images from photographers around the world and discuss what works and what doesn’t work. 

  • Why you’d choose B&W over colour
  • Light and Contrast
  • Textures, Shape and Form
  • Simplicity, and organised Chaos
Introduction to Black and White Editing

Methods of Black & White Conversion

As with anything in Photoshop there are many methods we can use to convert our images to black and white. In this series of videos we discuss many of the methods available to convert our images and their differences.

Duration: 1 hour 18 minutes (5 videos)

Black and White Conversion Example Waterfall

Methods of Black and White Conversion Explained

In this series of videos we discuss many of the methods of black and white conversion. We discuss methods that should and just as important shouldn’t be used and why. From using Camera Raw / Lightroom, using different types of adjustment layers, Photoshop plugins and using luminosity masks to make your conversion.

When to Convert Your Images

Although there is not a perfect answer on when an image should be converted to black and white, there are advantages and disadvantages to when you complete the conversion.

Duration: 13 minutes

In the example below I show a comparison between converting your images at two different times during your edit. On the left I show when you shouldn’t convert your images, showing the break down in your pixels. On the right I show the correct time to convert, with smooth transitions throughout. Both examples are using the exact same conversion methods and conversion adjustments. 

When to Convert Images to Black and White

Full Image Edits

Using the techniques discussed in converting our images to black and white, we complete 4 full image edits. We take the images from Raw Processing, through monochrome conversion and to all adjustments to complete our editing. On top of the conversion, we cover many topics to get the final results, working on how to highlight and lead the eye through our images.

Alpha Male

We’ll process this image of Aman, an Alpha Male Orangutan in Borneo. We cover many techniques in this edit, with a large focus on leading the eye, making selections and dodging and burning. 

Duration: 40 minutes (2 videos)

Black and White Conversion Example Orangutan

Hector Lake

In this panoramic image of Hector Lake on the Icefield Parkway in the Canadian Rockies we dual process the black and white conversion. This allows us to control the conversion in the foreground and sky separately. We then continue to process this image for contrast and mood, creating a stunning, classic mountain image.

Duration: 32 minutes

Black and White Conversion Example Hector Lake

London Bridge

In this long exposure image of London Bridge on the Great Ocean Road in Australia, we take a much softer approach. Firstly, we need to recover detail in the sky, and do some extensive adjustments in Camera Raw. In Photoshop we use MonoFX in ADP Pro Luminosity Masks Panel to complete the monochrome conversion.

Duration: 38 minutes

Black and White Conversion Example London Bridge
Black and White Conversion Example Bombo Quarry

Bombo Quarry

This image of Bombo Quarry in Australia, is processed by first blending together 3 separate exposures. To complete the blend we use selection tools in Photoshop, rather than luminosity masks, to show there are many ways to get good results. We also use a separate black and white adjustment layer with each of the images for full control over the conversion. 

Then using many tools, including luminosity masks, we continue the edit to direct light and add contrast through the image. 

Duration: 1 hour (2 videos)

What’s Included?


13 HD Videos

13 full HD high resolution (1080p) videos

5 Hours

5 hours of high quality content Included


Available for download or watch online

Image Files

All images used in the workshop are included