Images can be used for a lot of things. Their visual power can be used to defend your online reputation and engage with people on social media. There’s no better way to indulge in brand building for your business. The right images will decide what you get back for your efforts, though.

Anyone using the moneyball method for improving their sales knows different audiences react to different images. You need to be able to figure out what works for each group. For example, a dramatic picture may not work for a brand helping you cash in a structured settlement. Photography is crucial to telling a story, according to 46% of marketers.

In this tutorial, we are going to use Adobe Lightroom to help you create a timeless classic, the black and white photo. When used correctly, an image without color can be extremely powerful.

Many Methods Many Choices

This guide is going to introduce you to two of the main ways of taking a color photo and turning it into a black and white photo. You need to make sure you are using the right one for you. We recommend trying out a number of options first. You may find the black and white effect looks better with a specific strategy.

Step 1 – Use the Basic Panel to Set to B&W

The easiest way to start this tutorial is to upload your color image after it has been processed. Before we move forward, we need to set both the Saturation and Vibrancy options to zero. Then you should change the White Balance slider to neutral. If this is confusing, you can press the Auto option and it will get it right the majority of the time.

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At this stage, you will have a black and white image. What you’ll notice is there are no highlights and there are no dramatic areas on the image. This is what your image looks like after it has been desaturated. There’s a difference between simply adjusting the color and making a black and white photo.

Step 2 – Refine the Conversion with Tone

The Tone sliders will enable you to start refining your conversion. From top to bottom, we are going to go through the sliders you will be using and what they can do for you.

Exposure – This determines the brightness of your image. You should always adjust this first. But you may discover that because you are using a post-processed image you don’t need to move it at all.

Contrast – The majority of black and white images do better when they have a high level of contrast between the blacks and the whites. You should set this option second.

Shadows – The darkest tones in the photo are manipulated through this slider. They are changed independently of everything else, so you can add or completely remove any shadows.

Highlights – Highlights allows you to manipulate the lightest tones in the photo.

You may not do use all these sliders. For example, you could take an image and increase its contrast, reduce its highlights, and increase the shadows. This would add drama, reveal texture, and make things like skin darker. It’s merely a demonstration of what can be accomplished.

Step 3 – Driving Deeper

You can go even deeper to get specific effects. If you want to emphasize the sharpness and the texture of your photo, you can increase clarity. In more technical terms, this is increasing the contrast of the midterms. When working with clarity, you need to balance it out with your exposure and shadows settings.

Another option you have is to adjust the white balance through Temperature and Tint. Take note they should be the last sliders you use. They are always going to adjust the color balance in the photo, which could lead to some unintended effects.

Step 4 – What About the B&W Tab?

Another option you have is to go directly to the B&W Panel. This can be found in the HSL/Color/B&W Panel to the right side of your screen. For this option, it’s best to use it with a neutral color balance when Vibrancy and Saturation are on zero.

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Step 5 – Color Sliders

You’ll notice there are eight color sliders you can adjust. This is how you can make individual colors lighter or darker. One example would be to reduce the amount of blue in the picture. This would make any blue tones into dark gray. Move it in the opposite direction and you would have light gray.

But this is not recommended for novices. These are just the main ways you can create the dramatic skies and models you’ve always wanted. Which images will make your startup stand out today?

AJ Agrawal
I cover the art of using smart, simple shortcuts that lead to growth. I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @
AJ Agrawal

@ajalumnify

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