Black & White Mastery in Lightroom Classic | Steve Weinrebe | Skillshare

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Black & White Mastery in Lightroom Classic

teacher avatar Steve Weinrebe, Photographer, Author, Instructor

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What the heck are Parametric Edits?

    • 3. Simple Black & White Presets

    • 4. Start with the Basic edits

    • 5. 1st Black & White Method

    • 6. 2nd Black & White Method

    • 7. 3rd Black & White Method

    • 8. Split Tone Black & White

    • 9. Selectively Split Tone Black & White

    • 10. Split Tone Black & White with Curves

    • 11. Create a Light Spill with the Graduated Filter

    • 12. Save Your Own Custom Presets

    • 13. Jump to Photoshop, and What You've Learned

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About This Class

In this comprehensive master class you will learn the three powerful methods in Lightroom to create Black and White images. Explore each of these methods to create dramatic Black and White visual statements.

Once you have converted your photography to Black and White, use the power of Lightroom to create toned and split toned photographs for richness and depth. Lightroom provides you with several different tools to create rich tones in your photographs. I will guide you through all these processes, and then show you how to save your own custom presets.

Learn how Lightroom works best, and master Lightroom for your Black and White photography.

In these lessons you will learn:

  • What effect Black and White can have on the viewer, compared to the Color image
  • The non-destructive parametric edits Lightroom give you
  • Where to find Black and White presets
  • Simple Black and White conversions in Lightroom
  • The direct method to create Black and White photographs
  • How to create Black and White with the most control
  • How to Split Tone Black and White
  • How to Selectively Split Tone in Lightroom
  • How to Split Tone with Curves
  • How to create graduated highlights
  • How to save and share your own custom presets
  • How best to jump from Lightroom to Photoshop

During and after this course you will want to not only create new images, but revisit your favorite photographs that you have taken, and create stunning Black and White masterpieces using Lightroom.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Steve Weinrebe

Photographer, Author, Instructor


Steve has been teaching photography for over 30 years, drawing on his professional background as a widely published advertising, corporate, and editorial photographer. Author of 2 books on photography and Adobe Photoshop, Steve loves demystifying the art of photography for enthusiastic students. Steve has won a Videographer Award for video-based training, and he has taught photography and digital graphics at the Maine Media Workshops and the University of the Arts (Philadelphia). When not teaching Steve can be found photographing the coastline of New Jersey.


Steve Weinrebe
Produced Photoshop's "Photographic Toning" presets
Author, Cengage Learning, "Irreverent Photo Tools for Digital Photographers"
Author, Cengage Learning, "Adobe Photoshop & the Art of Ph... See full profile

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1. Introduction: no way we're going to first use light rooms. Ability to make black and white images using Parametric edits will then do color tenting and split toning in leg room, and we'll look at light rooms, ability to create and also save presets. So let's jump toe light room and we'll have a peek of light room. And this is the light room interface. Now I'm not going to go over a basic user interface introduction to light room. There are plenty of opportunities out there for you to get oriented toe light room If you're not already, we're going to concentrate on light rooms, black and white feature set and the ability to tent in tone black and white in light room. We'll also jump to camera so that you can see how light room and camera all work together. 2. What the heck are Parametric Edits?: room as I mentioned. Works on Parametric. Edits Parametric edits a red. It's to text files these files here and we can see next to each of these raw files and ex MP file. This is called a sidecar file. The sidecar files include all the parametric edits that light room or camera apply to the image instruction sets for the image, and we can actually open one of them up. I've said Thies to open up in a text editor, so I'll just double click that. I know that looks like gobbledygook, but if you kind of look closely, we can see that. For example, the color temperature is set at 5500 K The tent is zero as well as the saturation is zero. The sharpness is set a 25. And if I scroll down, we see all the different edits that could be done in late rumor camera. And the current values off those edits as well as some camera information like the lens. This was photographed with all that information updates as you work in the image in camera , raw or light room, and it saved into this ex MP file. Now one of The advantages if you use digital negative graphics or PNG files, is that the text information is actually embedded into the DMG file and you don't have sidecar files. That way, if you move the original raw file a DMG file, then you don't have to worry about moving the sidecar file with raw file. However, if you keep your proprietary file format Nikon Canon or other than you need to make sure if you move the raw file that you move the sidecar files with the raw pile anyway, those sidecar files. If you ever see them on your desk, that's what they are. But be aware that when we make our edits in light room, all those edits can be undone because you're not altering the original image information at all. 3. Simple Black & White Presets: going to make my screen real estate a little larger by hiding that bottom panel. And then I'll also hide the top panel and that maximizes our image so we can get a little more real estate out of our panels. Now, in Kameron, I just want to compare light room to camera raw. So I'm going to jump to Kameron. I have the same image opened in camera raw from Photoshopped. We see the camera raw as panels. So we have our basic panel and our curse panel the tone Kerr and detail and so forth along this panel icon strip And at the top, we have some tools jumping back toe light room are panels are located in the right hand side and we have our tools in this little section up here, so just the same tools, but in slightly different locations. So let's start exploring what we have available to us for our black and white images. First of all, we have some presets, and the presets are located over here on the left. This is something we don't have in Kameron less. You create presets, but we don't have to fall presets that come with a program, your default presets that come with light room and I can go to the White Room, black and white presets which role? Just turn the image into black and white based on presets, and I'll show you how to create presets. And if I simply hover my cursor over these presets, we see the preview up in the top in the Navigator panel. Change according to the preset. That way we can really quickly see what the preset looks like before we click on it and assign that preset in light room below that we have some black and white toned presets, and this is more where we're going to be going. And we see here antique presets in a cream tone preset, which I kind of like. And there's a scion, a type and Cellini and tone, which, actually I don't think really looks like Cellini and tone. So you might want to bear that in mind before you choose the selenium tone preset and then see Peotone some split toning and the split Tony also are very interesting, but we'll be doing all of that and creating our own presets, and I'll show you how you can save and export those as well 4. Start with the Basic edits: So let's just reset our settings and bring this image back to the way it was originally brought in, and I'm going to first do some basic at it. So only increase the exposure, lift up the shadows a little bit and dropped the blacks down a little bit. Just some basic edits. And I do advocate when people ask me what to do in late rumor, camera raw and what to do in Photoshopped. Doing some basic edits like this to your eye images. Great idea, because you have a shoot with 100 raw images. One of the advantages of were using light room or camera is that you can paste or sink your edits across all the images. That's another advantage of the Parametric. Get it so you can very quickly white balance and do a number of other edits Before you start opening up your images and photo shot 5. 1st Black & White Method: way have basically three options for turning our image into black and white or gray scale in light room. First, we have most obvious and not necessarily the best way to make a black and white would be to simply drag the saturation slider all the way to the left. And that d saturates the image. And you think, Well, you don't have any ability to make any adjustments from there because if we came down to the luminous sliders, that's not really doing anything, as you can see and a little light room tip. If you double click on the name of any of your slider sections or panel sections, you'll reset all the sliders in that panel. In any case, when they come back up here and we d saturated, that's just a dumb down way to make a black and white or gray scale version of an image. But we do have the temp and tents sliders, and we can actually adjust our black and white interpretation with the temp in 10 sliders. By dragging them to the right, we make the image brighter and change the contrast level by mixing the two so you can again direct attempted 10 sliders, even if all you've done is adjust the saturation down to minus 100%. But that's the least flexible way to make a black and white in light room. So let's reset our image. I'm going to click reset down here in the bottom, right? 6. 2nd Black & White Method: Theo. Second way we have to make black and white is to click on black and white up here in the basic panel, and that gives us loads more options. And when I reset the image, I did lose some of my adjustments. So I'm going to increase the exposure once again, go up about a stop. This was shot in a really dark gray day, and now that we made this black and white, we could still play around with the temp intent sliders as they showed you a moment ago. But I'm going to come down to the gray scale mixed section we can see when we go into black and wait the H SL color black and white section. The panel switches to the black and white mixed panel and weaken drag sliders to make the underlying colors lighter or darker. Or better yet, use the targeted adjustment tool and actually click and drag up and down in our image. And the underlying colors get lighter or darker accordingly, and we see those sliders adjust over here on the side so we can change the grayscale next atonality based on the underlying colors in the image. There is an auto tone button, and you could always start with auto tone and used as a branching off point. So if you click on black and white up here in the basic panel and then adjust the grayscale mix, you can still have the flexibility of tinkering with the temp intent sliders to change the overall brightness values and the way that the grayscale mixes interacting with the underlying colors. Because if you change the underlying colors, of course, the grayscale mix is going to affect those colors differently. 7. 3rd Black & White Method: when you use black and white as your method to turn your image into black and white, you don't have the ability to come into the presence area and change vibrance and saturation those air great out. We do, however, have 1/3 way that we can make black and white in late room. So I'm going to undo those changes that we just did. Rather than reset the entire image, I'm going to just undo when I could undo from the edit menu and choose undo. But I'm also just going to press Commander Control Z our third way to make black and white and labor is probably the best. And that is to come down to the HSE l panel, go to the saturation section and drag saturation in all the colors down to minus 100. Basically removed all the saturation, all the colors. We have loads of options. We can go to the Luminant section of the HSE l panel and we can adjust the brightness values of the underlying colors and we could use the targeted adjustment tool to do that as well if we want. And you can see as I drag the underlying color, that slider changing, and we can adjust the brightness values all throughout the image in the underlying colors. We also can go up to the basic panel, and now the vibrance and saturation sliders are available to us, and we can play around with vibrance as well. A saturation. This is changing the underlying colors and the saturation of the underlying colors. So we get some changes from vibrance and saturation as well, and can still come up to the white balance section and change temp intent. So lots of options to adjust our grayscale image when we use that de saturate method. And it can look at this luminous panel at the section of HS l by clicking on all and that will give you all your sliders and then just drag saturation down and still have luminous available to you to view. Or I'll just go back to luminous and that maximizes screen real estate over here a little bit 8. Split Tone Black & White: way have our image and grayscale. Let's go about toning our image. We have a number of options for toning in the most obvious. One is in the split toning panel in the split toning panel. We have highlights hue and saturation and shadows you in saturation. And for each of these we have a huge slider, a saturation slider as well as a color picker that we can go into to choose colors to adjust our hue and saturation when we just collapse that and will start out with the slider . If I want to add a c p a tent into the highlights. Aiken, drag the hue slider up, and anywhere between about 30 and 40 on the color wheel is going to give us a cph you. But you're not going to see that you until you drag the saturation slider to the right. And if I drag the saturation slider to the right, we do see that you there is a trick. However, if you hold down the option key on the Mac or all key on windows and drag the slider, you'll get a preview of your hue, albeit in a very saturated version. So we can see between being about 30 and 40 we get a yellow C P a color below about 30. You get quite a red color and above 40. You start to get into the greens, so you've got to be careful in that range. But we can pick that color in that area to adjust are few, and then we can bring our saturation up after the fact, and I'll adjust the saturation up in the highlights and we'll bring that up a little more exaggerated than I might usually. And then I'll do the same in shadows except to the shadows. All adjust the hue to a blue tent and I'll drag the saturation slider up. And that gives us a split toning effect. Yellow C p a color in the highlights and a blue sand color in the shadows. From there, we can adjust the balance, and the balance is whether the adjustment is weighted towards the highlights. In this case, by drag to the right, we wait the adjustment towards the CPS or towards the left, where the adjustment would be weighted towards our shadow coloration. So that's house with toning works, and we can reset any of these by double clicking on the names of the sliders 9. Selectively Split Tone Black & White: let's make some different interpretations of this image. And instead of toning overall in the highlights in the shadows, let's introduce a tent on Lee into the shadows or only into the highlights. So I'm going to introduce a C P A tent into the shadows, and in order to do that, click on the swatch to bring up the color picker and I can click in the section this hue and saturation section to change the hue and saturation of the color it'll be using. And we could see that dynamically update in the images they drag around. Come in here into a C. P a tent, and I'd like to add that tent into the presets. We see some photo filter type colors here in the presets to add a color to the presets. All you need to do is click and hold or option or alter click in the presets, and that will assign that color to one of your swatches. And I just assigned that color to both my presets and then let me cancel out of here. We see that Hugh in the shadows, but it's also spilling over into the highlights, so I'm going to drag that balance slider pretty far to the right, which will weight the adjustment to the highlights. But I don't have any adjustment to the highlights if I don't have any adjustment to the highlights. That means the only tent that we see is in the shadows. But because we've waited the adjustment to the highlights, we only see a little bit of attempt in the shadows. And that's what I'm going for it to just have a little bit of accentuated. C P. A color in the shadows. Not actually is a very, very nice look to just add a little bit of coloration to black and white images. Now let's do the opposite of that. So I'll reset everything. And this time I'm going to adjust the hue when you come up here to the highlights and I'll just click on one of my presets that I created and that assigns that preset to the human saturation collapsed the panel, and we see that assigned here and the sliders human saturation. And this time I'm going to wait the adjustment to the shadows and same thing. I don't have any adjustment in the shadows, so we only see ah hint a little wisp of the tinting in the highlights. And nothing in the shadows, of course, as opposed to, If I drag that slider over to wait towards the highlights, we see a tremendous amount of that tent. But we can introduce just a little bit of the tent by Dragnet Palin slider way down and again, similar to attending in just the shadows, that little bit of color added to the black and white image. That's a tremendous amount of feeling to the photo, and we can toggle the visibility on and off by clicking this little switch to the left of the panel, not just turns that tent on and off so that we can see it before and after. 10. Split Tone Black & White with Curves: way have another very important way that we can color, Tent and tone are images in light room, and I'm going to turn off this with toning effect and come up to the Kurds panel because in the Kurds panel in light room, we have a point curve. Now there are two kinds occurs in light room. There's a Parametric ER, which adjusts our tones based on highlights, lights, darks and shadows. You can change the tonal with of those specific tonal regions that you can't go into the individual channels. But the point curve and I'll just click this little witch it down at the bottom right of the tone curve panel does give us the ability to go into the individual channels so I can come into the Red Channel and I'll just add some anchor points and an a little bit of red. And the highlights go into the Green Channel and again at some maker points tanker down most of the curve. But I'm just going to tweak up the greens a little bit in the highlights, and then I'm going to the Blue Channel and I'm going to make a reverse Esseker dragged down in the highlights and up in the shadows. Now what happens when you dragged down in the highlights and up in the shadows in the Blue Channel is that you're subtracting blue from the highlights, and the opposite on the color wheel is yellow. So when you're subtracting blue, you're introducing yellow and increasing blew down in the shadows, adds blue or some tracks yellow from the shadows, and them actually might be enough for this image. I could come back here and I'll just right click in the Kurds panel and she's flattened Curve and the Red Channel, and I'll do the same thing in the Green Channel. And let's just work the blue channels like a click on that anchor point and drag it up. And I'm going to anchor the curve, as they did a minute ago with red and green channels. Rate. At these points were the highlights and the lights meet and where the darks in the shadows meat and then I'm just going to subtract blue from the highlights. The extreme highlights and I'm going to add blue in the extreme shadow regions of the image , and that again gives us a very, very nice put toning effect will turn that off and then on again so you can see that. And we could even mix that with our split toning effect. And we see both what we did in the tone curve in the split, toning assigned to the image. Still, those edits are undoable. They're all parametric. You can always press Commander Control Z to undo them. Or we could come down to the history panel on the left side of the light room interface and simply back up in history states to undo what we've done in previous points in time along this editing session. 11. Create a Light Spill with the Graduated Filter: let me come back up to where we left. The image will collapse history and come back over to the split toning panel, and I'm going to split tone this image with a C p a tent in both the highlights and the shadows. So there's a CP attempt in the shadows, and I want to point out that if you ever see two little icons here, one simply means the tent that's assigned to the highlights and the attempt that's assigned to the shadows. So you have the ability to keep an eye on the tent of one while you're adjusting. Attend to the other. In this case, I'm actually overlapping the two because I'm assigning the same tent by clicking the swatch to both the highlights and the shadows, and I'm going to reset the curve right quick and choose flattened. Kerr. I could also just come to this section down at the bottom and choose linear, and that will reset everything. Just check here through the Red Channel, the green channels flat, all the channels air flattened. I haven't made any adjustment to the curve itself, but what I have done is added an overall split tone tent using the split toning panel, but really not a split tone. I'm just adding eight single CP attend. Overall, I'm going to reduce the saturation of that somewhat, so it's not a little overwhelming. You don't want to go overboard with saturation. When you're tenting, we just drag balance slider to the center. I could adjust the saturation in either the highlights or the shadows, and in fact, I will bring that up just a tiny bit. So we see a slightly exaggerated version of what's going on here. And then I'm going to add another coloration because we do have another trick up our sleeve in light room in camera raw. And that is with our graduated and radio filters. So I'm going to choose the graduated filter, and when I dio, I get a new set of parameters showing up here in this panel, and I'm going to drag a graduated filter down across the top. What I'm going to do is just add a wash of light, as if the sunlight is washing down from the upper right of the scene. So I don't want to do anything to saturation here. What I do want to do is increase. Beastie Exposure reduced the contrast. Let's think about what would happen if there was a wash of light coming in, even some kind of lens flare coming in from this corner of your scene. You would have low contrast lower clarity because that would soften, reducing clarity, softens or adds a photo focus effect when they come way down. In the contrast, I'll increase the highlights in the shadows and I'll drop saturation, clarity and contrast pretty much all the way to the bottom only come way up in my exposure . And then I'm going to add a coloration. Appear so down here we see a color box and then click on that. And in there I can again a sign a c P A tent allowed a little bit of yellow to that highlight up there they collapse. That, and I'm going to move this down. Drag the graduated adjustment parameters across. Bring this pin that's assigning the center of the graduated filter down below this subject's face in the background so that that graduated filter with the effect is doing is graduating down and feeding across the top and Onley affecting this upper right portion and is accentuating our model down in the foreground here and making the model in the background kind of recede. So by fading this background with a graduated filter, were really drawing the eye into the foreground. 12. Save Your Own Custom Presets: Now that we've made these adjustments, we're going to add a preset. It's very easy to add presets. All you need to do is Ray quick in this section of presets over here in the left side of the light room interface, and you'll see this new folder option and we can choose a new folder. And in order to get that folder to appear at the top of your hierarchy of presets when we just cancel their and scroll up so that you can see we have the labour in black and white filters and the light from black and white presets all those air at the top here. But we want our presets to appear a the very top. In order to do that, I'm going to right click, choose new folder and simply at a special character, like a space or a dash, allowed a dash and then call this folder flying presets and then click create. In those presets appear a the very top instead of in the alphabetical list, my presets or at the very top, and in my presets I'm going to add a preset based on this image. When you're adding presets, be a little careful because when you apply presets, they can have the effect of nullifying earlier edits because the presets, of course, include edits, and you can cancel out edits you've made to the image earlier. So be very careful. You generally want toe only add in this new develop preset panel you want to check the items that are important in this panel that create the look of the preset that you're adding. So in this case, I did make adjustments to the basic toned. I did adjust the white balance because I was playing around with temp intent. I left the tone curve alone. If you recall, I reset the tone curve, but I did adjust the color saturation and vibrance, and we did it a just split toning, and we included a graduated filter. So those were the things that we did that affected this look that we created in this image that we might want to repeat to other images. So once I'm done checking the items that are integral to this specific look, then we'll give my preset a name. I'll call this see Pia with highlight upper right and let create, and that creates the preset, and I can drag that pre set up into my presets folder and have that preset to apply again and again to other images. If you want to share your presets with other people, that's easy to do. We can go to the edit menu windows or in your white room menu on the Mac and choose your preferences and in your leg room preferences go to the presets tab, and there you'll see a button that says Shone Light Room Presets folder and that will open up the folder on disk where your white room presets exist. And in that folder will see a section, a folder called Developed Presets. And there is my folder with my presets and the preset that I just created. So I can actually copy that out and distribute it if I want to close that and we can cancel out of the preferences, and it can also right click in any preset and choose export so you can import presets to this folder, where you can export presets as well. To disk, you can also by right clicking, rename a preset or update a preset with current updated settings or if you ever want to directly import a preset set that you created on another computer or purchased, you can simply drag that set into that presets folder that we looked out a moment ago. 13. Jump to Photoshop, and What You've Learned: What I want to show you now is how light room and Photoshopped integrate how light room talks to photo shop. Albeit Photoshopped doesn't talk to light room so much. So we're going to go up to the photo menu and choose edit in, and I'm going to open as a smart object in photo shop. And that's really going to be your best practice for editing light room images in photo shop. When this image opens up in photo shop, it's going to open up. Has noticed this scroll bar saying, reading camera Raw format. Because light room uses the camera raw engine. Photoshopped sees the image as a smart object. Remember, a smart object is a container and the contents the child file inside the parent file, which is smart object terminology. The child file is the raw file, with all the edits that were done in light room. Except Photoshopped doesn't talkto light room Photoshopped on. Lee talks to camera because light room is another program entirely. The camera raw is a plug in. Plug in is a term that's given to some of the features of photo shot. Better add ons. They're not part of the photo shop program proper, but they live in the photo shop estate, so they're part of photo shop. And when you launch Photoshopped, you have access to these plug ins. One of those plug ins is camera. If we go to this icon over here in the Layers panel, there's are smart object icon, and we double click to open up the smart object camera. Wrong launches. You can't jump to light room from Photoshop. You can jump to camera raw, so when you go at it in photo shop is a smart object. The image is going to appear in Photoshop, has a smart object. And then when you double click the smart object, open up in camera, raw and in camera. We have all the adjustments that we had in light room. Plus, you'll see all the adjustments, and that's what's key. You see all the adjustments that we created in light room in camera and can simply make more adjustments. So to this image, if I go to the split toning tab, I see the split toning that I assign. And in the basics tab, I see all the adjustments I made in the basics tab or the basics panel in light room. And if I come up to the tool section in the top and click on the graduated filter, I see the graduated filter I created in late room. I'll just come back here to the friendly hand tool to get out of the graduated filter, and we see our basic panel and all the other panels available to us again. And I'll continue editing this image in a photo shop via camera raw. So I'll come up to the FX tab and there's our special effects. And in here we have green and post crop vignette ing on going to add a post crop vignette by dragging down towards the vignette side and click OK, and we see that post crop vignette applied to the image Parametric Lee simply with edits, and we can continue doing our editing and Photoshopped with all the tools that you know at our disposal. In photo shots are vast array of tools, menu items, adjustments and all the things that you can do in Photoshopped to color tent and tone your images. Let's review We discussed black and white toning with Parametric edits in light room, and I showed you three ways to make black and whites in light room. And then we discussed color tenting and split toning in leg room. And we used that split toning panel as well as the RGB curves to tent and toner images. And we created presets and save presets. And I showed you where you could find your presets if you ever want to share them with other people.