How to Make a Picture Black and White - 4 Quick Ways

How to Make a Photo Black and White?

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How to Make a Picture Black and White: 4 Easy Ways

Puzzled about how to change a photo to black and white? Confused by different sliders in your current editor? No matter how many times you edit it, the picture just turns into a dull gray mess? Well, get ready and take a deep breath: I’ve got 4 different ways that will make this task pretty easy.

First, why black and white? Isn’t this a downgrade? Many of us consider black and white photos to be a relic of the past. However, sometimes, a colorless pic can show much more details than the one with colors. Highlight a texture, focus on silhouettes, play with the contrasts between objects, add a light noise for retro mood - no colored picture will let you do that.

Now, what about turning photos into black and white? How to do that and not break a sweat? Here are 4 different programs that will cope up with this task in no time. Keep on reading and discover a method that suits you.

Here they are:


Way 1. Apply Black and White Effect to Images in PhotoWorks

Imagine that you can turn your photo into grayscale just by ticking a box. No confusing dropdown lists or menus. Is that not a dream anymore? For sure! PhotoWorks is an easy-to-use picture editor that has a pretty simple interface and a whole lot of different tools. For instance, if you are not sure about the name of the tool you need, just type some keywords into the search field and the necessary option is found.

Here are the steps for making a black and white image in PhotoWorks:

Step 1. Start PhotoWorks

Run the program and import your picture.

Start the program to make a photo black and white

Choose a photo for applying the black and white effect

Step 2. Turn Photo Black And White

Go to the Enhancement tab and check the Black and White box to remove the colors.

Check the box to turn the image black and white

Just check the Black & White box to turn your image grayscale

Step 3. Move the Tone Sliders for Further Adjustment

If you need to tweak the result a bit, use the Tone sliders. For instance, you can increase or decrease the brightness by moving the Whites and Highlights sliders, while Shadows or Blacks let you correct the dark areas.

Move the Tone sliders to adjust the black and white effect

We are decreasing Exposure to make the bright areas darker

Step 4. Save Your Work

When it’s done, click Save to keep the changes.

Save your new black and white image

If you like the result, save your black and white image

If you’re up to experiments but don’t like dealing with dull sliders and numbers, check out the Effects tab. You will find dozens of gorgeous presets that will make your photo look retro-perfect without any editing. We recommend trying out the Vintage and Movies categories. Can't wait to check it all out? Just click the button below to start!

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Full support for Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP

That sounds really easy, doesn’t it? You can discover a whole lot of other creative possibilities while using PhotoWorks: from simple brightness and contrast correction to complex retouch for portraits and landscapes.

Way 2. Make a Picture Black and White in Paint

If you have no desire to purchase an image editor for just a few pictures, then check out other, free programs. They may have fewer tools to play with, but can definitely be a lifesaver in some situations. For instance, MS Paint. Unlike other special editors, you don’t have to pay for a yearly subscription or even download anything. If you’re using, let’s say, Windows 7 or higher, Paint should already be pre-installed with the system.

Here are the steps if you decide to try out Paint:

Step 1. Open Paint

Start Microsoft Paint and import your image.

Open the picture you want to make black and white

The interface is very simple, so this method is suitable for almost any user

Step 2. Go to the Image Menu to Find the Black & White Converter

Open the Image menu and choose Properties. Now check the Black and White box.

Check the box to make the image black and white

If you don't have the black and white option, then get a newer version of Paint

Step 3. Save Your Work After Changing Colors

Now click the Save icon to keep the new image.

Save your image after applying the black and white filter

Don't forget to save the grayscale image by hitting this small icon

Paint is a really nice and useful program but don’t expect any miracles since it’s just a built-in Windows application. But if you are running the latest Windows 10 version, you can try out Paint 3D that has an extended toolkit and offers new possibilities for editing your pictures.

Way 3. Turn Your Photos Into Grayscale in Microsoft Publisher

If you’re into making various calendars, greeting or business cards in special software like Microsoft Publisher, then this method is for you.

For those who don’t know, Microsoft Publisher is actually a part of the MS Office package, that we all use quite often for making presentations or writing documents. This one allows you to create different designs and layouts for further printing. What’s good, you can also work with images and edit them in a basic way.

If you’re using Publisher, here is how you can turn your picture into grayscale with this program:

Step 1. Launch Microsoft Publisher

Start the program, create a new project and import your jpg photo. Position it on the page.

Add the photo for applying the black and white filter

First, pick a page layout and then drop in the image you want to turn grayscale

Step 2. Make Your Image Black and White

Left-click your image to open the editing panel. Choose Recolor. Now select Grayscale from the dropdown list.

Pick the black and white filter from the list

Publisher offers several color filters, we need the black and white one

Step 3. Apply the Changes

Satisfied? Click Save to keep the edited image. Save it under some other name if you need to have the colored picture too, and perhaps tweak it once again later.

Keep the black and white image

There is no filter adjustment, so just save the grayscale image

Now let’s be honest, Microsoft Publisher is not an image editor. If you look for a complex retouch where applying the black and white filter is only a step in-between, then try other programs. However, if simple tweaks for a card or print is your goal, Publisher will help you achieve it for sure.

Way 4. Convert Your Images to Black and White with Photoshop

If you ask a person to name any image editor he or she knows, in 99% of all cases, Adobe Photoshop will be the first on the list. This program is truly considered to be a top-rated software for photo retouching. With it, you can bring to life almost any creative ideas.

For all Photoshop users, here is the guide on turning an image black and white in that program:

Step 1. Open Photoshop

Launch Photoshop and open the image you want to edit.

Pick the image for changing colors

Photoshop has a different interface in each version, but the workflow is the same

Step 2. Create a Black and White Adjustment Layer

Go to the top menu and choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer. Then pick Black and White.

Choose the Black and White adjustment layer

Photoshop creates a new layer without damaging the pic, so you can tweak it as you like

Step 3. Move the Sliders to Adjust the Effect

Move the color sliders to lighten or darken certain areas. Alternatively, save some time and pick a pre-made preset. Don’t forget to hit Ctrl+S and save the new image.

Keep the black and white image

Merge the layers and save the black and white picture

If you are working with Photoshop CS2 or Photoshop Elements, the Black and White mode described above may not be available for you. In this case, I suggest creating the Adjustment layer in the Saturation mode.

All these Adjustment layers and sliders for different colors may sound tricky for some users. But once you get into it, you will make the edits on the go. The trick is, do you want to get into this? If you don’t, look for some other black and white picture maker.

Anyway, now you know a few ways to turn color photos into black and white. Now decide which one is suitable for you, grab your picture and make it happen!

About the author: Matt Cooper is a professional photographer who specializes in taking portrait shots. Black and white photos make a massive part of his portfolio.
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