Gradient Map Black and Whites

with 3 Comments

Lydia-200I love a beautiful black and white photo. In my scrapping, I like to use them in two main ways. First, I like to use great black and white photos as the focal points on my layouts. The striking contrast of a black and white photo can make a wonderfully bold statement on a scrapbook page. Second, I like to convert photos to black and white when I’m having a hard time matching the colors in a kit. Black and white goes with everything, right?

In this tutorial, I will show a really quick and easy way to convert your photos to black and white using a Gradient Map adjustment. You’ll notice that the initial conversion results in a photo with a lot of gray in it. But, adding just a few more more adjustment layers enables you to brighten the whites and darken the blacks, leaving you with a stunning black and white photo in no time. I love this method so much that I’ve even created my own action so I can convert my photos with just one click of the mouse.

Want to see how I do it? Let’s get started!
Tutorial:

Step One: Open a Photo

  • Open a photo of your choice (File > Open).
  • In the Menu Bar, choose File > Duplicate and click OK. (PS: Choose Image > Duplicate.)
  • Close the original photo.

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Step Two: Apply a Gradient Map

  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.
  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the photo layer.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon and choose Gradient Map.
  • Press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to merge the Gradient Map layer with the duplicated photo layer.

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Step Three: Make Adjustments

  • In the Layers panel, click on the¬†Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon and choose Levels.
  • In the Properties panel or Adjustment panel, move the Black Point, Gray Point, and White Point sliders to achieve the desired effect.
  • Press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to merge the Levels layer with the photo layer.

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  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon and choose Brightness/Contrast.
  • In the Properties panel or Adjustment panel, move the Brightness and Contrast sliders to achieve the desired effect.
  • Press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to merge the Brightness/Contrast layer with the photo layer.

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And, here’s the layout I created using the converted photo. I’d love to see what you can do with this tutorial! I’ll be looking for your layouts in the Digi Scrap Tutorial Gallery.

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Credits:
Digi Scrap Tutorial: Gradient Map Black and Whites by Lydia Tarbox
Layout: Fifth Birthday Take Two by Lydia Tarbox
Kit: Celebrate by Julie Billingsley; September 2013 Premier kit
Font: DJB Bailey

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

3 Responses

  1. Woodie Sprague
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for this tut…I’m familiar with the process but I often forget about it. I especially appreciated your comment about recording an action on these steps..brilliant idea…gonna do it right now…lol thanx again!

    • Lydia Tarbox
      | Reply

      So glad you found the tutorial useful? ūüėÄ

  2. […] What does it take to make a good black and white photo? ¬†I’ve never been able to decide on a photo that would be suitable before. ¬†In this instance, I used a gradient map adjustment, followed by a levels adjustment, followed by a brightness/contrast adjustment. ¬†(Note to self: ¬†Next time, use File>Duplicate to create a copy then close the original!) ¬†See – always learning! ¬†Tutorial instructions here. […]

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