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How to Make Moody B & W Images in Adobe Photoshop

Last Updated on November 1, 2020 by Devaun Lennox

In today’s video I’m gonna show you guys how to make moody black-and-white images in Adobe Photoshop


Alright so here we are in Adobe Photoshop let me show you the before the image so you guys can see exactly what the original image looks like put that over there this is the original image a lot of color very saturated totally my style and I don’t normally shoot black and whites but eventually I do want to go out and do more Street in journalistic and more candid type photography so it’s been something I’ve been exploring little by little and I do want to shoot more black and whites in studio so I have been making presets and things of that nature to kind of

slowly tailor my style to start shooting in that medium but ultimately I do want to show you guys how to go from that to this yes you will see her leg change a little bit the photo is actually different I loaded up the wrong TIFF image I don’t know where this original photo is but yes so that’s the only difference between the images so I do want to say as a caveat I did use in Adobe Lightroom let me hit preset or reset over here I did use Gloria which is one of our free downloadable Lightroom color grading presets if you wish to download that the description will be in the the link will be in the description down below it’s just one of our presets for Lightroom when it comes to black and whites and some other things that for fashion but you’re welcome to download the fashion series but I did use Gloria which converted this to the black and white

that you guys see and then I made some adjustments in Adobe Photoshop so first and foremost you will need to convert the image to black and white I will show you guys really super briefly on how to do that specifically you would essentially turn on this you would go over here and then you would go to black and white and then you’d make adjustments to these sliders that are here I did that in Adobe Lightroom I’ve also released a preset pack like I was saying on that because I prefer doing this kind of these kind of color adjustments in Adobe Lightroom over Photoshop so I don’t have presets quite yet on how to you this in Adobe Photoshop but suffice to say you guys will need to convert it to a black and white and then we can add on some of the things that you see here nonetheless it will work the the group that I’m showing you here will work it’s just that these colors down here are a little bit different with the highlights and shadows only difference but I will I will walk you guys through what I did so I did record a previous video on how to add noise to an image and we’re actually gonna go ahead and do that right

now if you haven’t seen that tutorial I would definitely encourage you on how to do that I’m just gonna kind of just knock it out really quick so first thing first we’re actually gonna just make a new layer and we’re gonna add some noise and and why we’re doing this is because at the at the end of the day when you want to do black and white so we want to our goal is really to emulate film that’s really where the black and white is is the most true so a we shoot in a digital error we are using digital cameras here unless you are currently still shooting on 35 millimeter in your using film which is not the majority of people but if you do shoot that then you can get this straight out of camera you don’t need to do any adjustments but for those of us that are using digital cameras we have to kind of replicate this in Photoshop Lightroom affinity photo etc

so to do that one of the one of the the most important things to do here is actually adding noise because without noise you get that still that too sharp digital look it basically should say too sharp it’s too clean it’s too crisp we need to add some noise to kind of add a little bit of grit and some grain and some basically onion afore MIDI if that’s a word so we’re gonna do that by adding a new layer and then we’re gonna add a noise filter again I’ve done soil on this if you want more explanation and then we’re gonna set the amount anywhere from 5 to 11% make

sure the distribution is set to uniform or gauzy and it depends how much you want if you set it to uniform do set the amount to a maximum of 11% if you said it’s gaudy it Gaussian I would say probably six maybe seven depends on your image and make sure you’re setting down here monochromatic making sure that’s checked because we are using a black and white image we don’t want this to basically have color specs you’ll you’ll see if i zoom in here that there’s a lot of color specs we want to make sure monochromatic is selected so it’s just gradations of

black and white and medium gray so the first thing was adding noise from there I’m actually going to add a mask and the reason why I’m doing this because the background gets too noisy I don’t want the background to get super noisy especially since we’re shooting on seamless it just looks kind of weird so I’m gonna add a mask I’m setting my opacity on my blush brush to 25% and flow to 25% so that can gradually build up with every stroke so I’m just gonna kind of stroke out a little bit the background and just get rid of some of this noise out here little by

little here and I’m gonna do this really quick I’m not gonna be I’m not gonna be super clinical about this but ultimately I’m just gonna do this super fast just so we have a general idea on what is happening okay and you can see the before and after we’re just kind of clean up the background too to not have it be as as grainy but still have a little bit more texture than what it would have otherwise okay so that’s first thing from there there’s a couple of things what we have to do we need to add more contrast to the image and then we also need to basically add

a kind of a color overlay so basically what we’re gonna do we’re gonna go to brightness and contrast we’re gonna add a little bit more contrast pull the contrast down to about 10 that’s a good really good working point there and then you can see the before and after add a little bit more contrast okay from there we’re gonna go into curves and we’re just going to manually dot in just a little bit go down here and go up here just to add a little bit more a little bit more contrast and then I’m also going to turn our grain down I think a hundred percent is just a little bit too much so we’re gonna do 65 a little bit more grain and I’m actually in close Lightroom my computer’s gonna make a lot of fan noise here okay and then the last thing we’re gonna do is we’re going to add a color balance main reason why we’re doing this here is because it allows us

to basically add a color overlay every single type of film that you shoot on has a certain kind of way that they render colors so we’re we’re kind of replicating that by using the color balance to add a certain type of tint that is pleasing for the look that we want whether it be more green or maybe a little bit more red I made it a little bit more on the green side so I drop these down to basically minus three each and then we can group that and I’ll show you guys the before and after so that just add a little bit more contrast added that little bit of an overlay and there you go actually add both of them on and that was the original and then that right there is basically how you the working points on how you make your black and whites a little bit more moody Moody you add grain you add more contrast you play with the curves to add shadows and

highlights and then you also do a color balance to add a certain color that you want you’re just welcome to kind of just DoubleTap any of these and add more contrast if you if you’d like to add more contrast and then you know go back over here into the color balance and you can you know add more color make it totally green or red or whatever whatever you like but that’s ultimately how you make more of a moody black-and-white image you can see the before and after difference there significantly punchier and harder and it’s just edgier so those are the

fundamental steps you’re welcome to download our Lightroom presets if you’d like that will be in the description down below thank you for watching today’s video I hope you found the contents of today’s video insightful and added to you if you’re new here please consider subscribing if you haven’t done so already also leave us a like and a comment in the description down below let us know if I overlooked something or I miss something covered in today’s video is Devon Linux you know where to find us

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Devaun Lennox

I'm a fashion, beauty, and commercial photographer turned impromptu photojournalist. Based in Las Vegas, my images are graphic, bold, and full-on contrast.