Have you always wanted to turn some of your favorite photos into beautiful black and white images? This tutorial teaches you how to do that and much more! Thank you to Adobe Photoshop Elements for helping me to share this post with you.
There’s a very good reason that I was drawn to the black and white photos from our wedding years ago. First of all, black and white has a magical ability to make us look 10 years younger. But beyond the obvious vanity factor, black and white photos have many other benefits, such as the subtlety of tones, reduction of distractions that take away from the subject and versatility across types of photos. Black and white works for anything from landscape to portrait, depending on the photo.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time playing around with the Guided Edits in Photoshop Elements 13, and the three black and white options are my favorites. They also appear to be the favorites of my kids too, who keep choosing photos for me to manipulate with the Black & White, Black & White Selection and Black & White Color Pop guided edits.
Entertainment for hours!
Let’s go through each of the Black and White guided edits. You’ll see the awesome effects that these features can help you to achieve.
For all of these edits, click on the Guided tab at the top, then use the Photo Effects dropdown menu on the right.
Black & White Guided Edit
This guided edit will enable you to change a colored photo to black and white. To start, choose “Black and White” under Photo Effects.
Start by choosing one of the presets available (light, lighter, dark and darker). Click on each to see the effect. Simple, right?
You can take things a couple of steps further by using the Diffuse Glow or Contrast options.
Use this option if you would like to highlight a subject in the photo. Choose either the Add or Remove button to apply or remove the diffuse glow effect.
Using the Size and Opacity sliders allows you to adjust the size of the brush and the intensity of the glow. Play around until you achieve the desired effect.
Click on the Increase Contrast button to intensify the contrast in your photo. Each time you click on the button, the contrast will become more intense. Simply click on the Undo button if you wish to return to the previous levels of contrast.
Black & White Selection
This guided edit will allow you to control which areas of your photo will be turned to black and white. To start, choose “B&W Selection” under Photo Effects.
Use the Add and Subtract buttons and adjust the brush size, then apply the effect directly onto the photo.
You can use the Refine Edge option to give you more control when selecting fine areas, such as hair and fur.
For me, I find the B&W Detail Brush to be the most useful and easiest to control. Click on the button, then make adjustments to your photo, cleaning up areas where black and white should be added or subtracted.
Once your selection looks just right, you can leave it “as is” or click on the Invert Effect to reverse the color and black and white portions of the photo. This is a pretty fun feature that gives your photo a look that you may not have envisioned. My son was blown away by this and asked me to print out this photo of him so he could frame it.
Black & White Color Pop
This guided edit is one of my favorites. It will enable you to highlight one or two colors in a photo, while keeping the rest of the photo in black and white. To start, choose “B&W Color Pop” under Photo Effects.
Choose one of the preset colors (red, yellow, blue or green) or select a custom color. To select a custom color, click on that button, then choose a color in your photo, using the eye dropper.
Once you choose the color, all examples of that color in that photo will be highlighted while the rest of the photo will be black and white. Using the Fuzziness slider will allow you to include more or less tones of the color you selected.
The Refine Effect allows you to add or remove other colors, or certain examples of your selected color, in the photo, controlling the size of the brush and opacity. For example, if your chosen color shows up in the small amounts in the background and you prefer that the background is black and white, click on Subtract, adjust the size of the brush and click on the areas.
You can also highlight an additional color by clicking on “Add”, then choosing certain areas of your photo.
Click on Increase Saturation to increase the color pop of the colors you highlighted.
Play around to your heart’s content for some amazing effects!
Disclosure: This post and the giveaway are sponsored by Adobe. All opinions are my own.
Ugh...read this at work... Now I have to wait until I get home to try it! Can't wait to try the color pop!
kellie | The Suburban Soapbox
I love this!!! I like playing around with my photos but my expertise in editing is VERY limited. Thanks so much for making this so simple!
Lauren @ Healthy Delicious
I love these tutorials! They almost make me want to trade in my full version for elements... it looks like it's so much more user friendly.
Rose | The Clean Dish
Thanks for another brilliant tutorial! I had no idea you could do this. I have so many photos that need editing - bookmarking and pinning this for reference! I'm looking forward to your next post 🙂
Erin @ Texanerin Baking
Whoa! I didn't know you could do that. I love this series! I seriously need to devote some more time to Photoshop.
Yes, I'm with Heather, the last photo is my favorite! Love the color pop and I love all these tutorials. You know you could now teach photo editing workshops? I love all your details. Great job, Dara!
Heather | girlichef
So much awesome! I love all of the pics, but the last one is my favorite...the water, boards, and suits look so cool! One of these days I may get Photoshop, and I'm saving all of your amazing tutorials for then.
Angie | Big Bear's Wife
I love black and white photos with pops of color! I really need to check out Photoshop Elements!
Carol @ Wild Goose Mama
Totally enjoyed the post. I would love to fool around with photography more. It's the ol' ' when I get time' song. I should know by now you just have to make the dang time!!!! I pinned this, however so I wouldn't lose track of it.
I don't normally talk about ME, but please make note of the slight name change from Wild Goose Tea. New web design----whoopee and adding some new features.
Martha @ A Family Feast
I'm loving this series - I never knew my Photoshop Elements could do so much!
The Food Hunter
Your posts are always so helpful!!
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes
I'm so bad in photoshop - I only know how to do the necessities and that's it. Thanks for the tips!
Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
What a great and informative post, Dara! Love the pictures!
Thanks, Robin! I had a lot of fun playing around with them.
How cool is this?! I have a few photos that would be great for that color pop feature.
Thanks, Kim! That color pop feature can produce some pretty amazing effects.
Lauren Kelly Nutrition
I just bookmarked this, I absolutely love these tips! I especially love the ones with the color pop, these are so fun! Pinned too 🙂
Thank you, Lauren! The color pop is so fun to play with. I'm glad you found this helpful.
This series is so helpful, Dara! That selection tool is pretty cool. I can see why your son was so excited about that picture of him in his green tank. You're convincing me to buy Photoshop Elements!
I'm so glad you found this helpful, Diana! Photoshop Elements has so much to offer. The guided black and white edits are just the tip of the iceberg.