Convert a color image to black and white

Learn how to quickly convert your color images to black and white using Photoshop

Color photography is indispensable when colors and shades, or hues, in your image are distinctive and vivid, allowing you to see even the most intricate details. Black and white photography is the better option when you want to focus on the subject and the textures in an image without being distracted by colors. Black and white effects can help bring out the drama in your images.

Color image #blackandwhitephotoshop

To easily convert a color image to black and white with the Black & White adjustment layer in Photoshop, follow the quick steps below:

  1. Convert your image to black and white with the Black & White adjustment layer

    To access the Black & White adjustment layer, do one of the following:

    • Select Window > Adjustments. Click the Black & White icon () in the Adjustments panel that opens.
    • Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White. In the New Layer dialog box, type a name for the adjustment layer and then click OK.

    Photoshop applies a default grayscale conversion to your image.

  2. (Optional) Fine tune your results in the Properties panel

    Black & White adjustment layer properties
    Black & White adjustment layer properties

    Preset: Select a predefined grayscale mix or a previously saved Custom mix. To save your custom mix, click the properties menu () icon and select Save Black & White Preset.

    Auto: Sets a grayscale mix based on the color values of your image. The Auto mix often produces excellent results or can be used as the starting point for tweaking gray values using the color sliders.

    Tint: To apply a color tone, enable Tint. Click the color swatch to open the Color Picker and select the tint color.

    Color sliders: Adjust the gray tones of specific color in your image. Drag a slider left to darken or right to lighten the gray tones corresponding to the original color of the image. 

    • To adjust colors directly on the canvas, use the On-image adjustment tool (). Click on the image and drag left (darken) or right (lighten) to modify the color slider for the corresponding color(s) at that location.
    • Click the Reset () icon to reset the adjustment defaults.
  3. Save and share your results
    Once you are happy with your black and white transformation, save and share your results in the Adobe Photoshop community and on social media. Don't forget to tag Adobe Photoshop and hashtag your image with #blackandwhitephotoshop.

    To learn more about save and share workflows, see:

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