Work in grayscale

Convert a photo to gray tones

Black & White Mix in the B&W panel converts color images to monochrome grayscale images, providing control over how individual colors convert to gray tones.

  1. Convert the photo to grayscale by selecting Black & White in the Treatment area of the Basic panel or by pressing V.
  2. Adjust the photo’s tonal range using the settings in the Basic and Tone Curve panels.
  3. In the HSL/Color/B&W panel, darken or lighten the gray tones that represent colors in the original photo.
    • Drag the individual color sliders to adjust the gray tone for all similar colors in the original photo.

    • Click Auto to set a grayscale mix that maximizes the distribution of gray tones. Auto often produces excellent results that can be used as a starting point for tweaking gray tones using the sliders.

    • Click the Targeted Adjustment tool  in the upper-left of the B&W panel, move the pointer over an area of the photo you want to adjust, and click the mouse. Drag the tool, or press the Up and Down Arrow keys, to lighten or darken the grays for all similarly colored areas of the original photo.

To apply grayscale mix automatically when converting photos to grayscale, select the Apply Auto Mix When First Converting To Black And White in the Presets area of the Preferences dialog box.

Tone a grayscale photo

Use the sliders in the Split Toning panel to color a grayscale photo. You can add one color throughout the tonal range, such as a sepia effect, or create a split tone effect in which a different color is applied to the shadows and the highlights. The extreme shadows and highlights remain black and white.

You can also apply special effects, such as a cross-processed look, to a color photo.

  1. Select a grayscale photo.
  2. In the Split Toning panel of the Develop module, adjust the Hue and Saturation sliders for the Highlights and Shadows. Hue sets the color of the tone; Saturation sets the strength of the effect.
  3. Set the Balance slider to balance the effect between the Highlight and Shadow sliders. Positive values increase the effect of the Highlight sliders; negative values increase the effect of the Shadow sliders.

Working with single-channel grayscale images

Grayscale mode images from Photoshop have no color data, but you can make tonal adjustments to them in Lightroom using the tone adjustments in the Basic panel or Tone Curve panel. You can also apply color toning effects using the options in the Split Toning panel. Lightroom handles the photo as an RGB image and exports it as RGB.

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