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Make a photograph black and white in Photoshop CS3

Until recently I'd been using desaturate to convert photographs to black and white in Photoshop. In fact there is a much better non-destructive method.

Estimated reading time: 1 minutes

Table of contents

New for CS3

This method will only work on Photoshop CS3. In this example we are going to use an image taken by Steffe.

That Old Tree (Thunder Road)

The Technique

Open the image that you would like to convert to black and white and open the layers palette by going to Window > Layers or just hitting F7. In the layers palette click the Create new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of the layers palette.

Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer

Select Black and White. Hey presto! Not only is it a non-destructive layer (meaning your original photograph is safe) but you can also adjust the result based on the original colours.

You can use the sliders to get the photo to where you would like or apply a number of custom presets. As if that isn’t enough you can also click and hold on any part of the photo and then drag the mouse to the left or right to change that colour. Pretty slick.

Black and White options

If you want to change the Hue or Saturation you can also do it at the bottom of the options.

Black and White version

Desaturation no more

Until I discovered this technique I was using desaturate to move colour images to black and white. No more!

Have an update or suggestion for this article? You can edit it here and send me a pull request.


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