In this quick tutorial, we will learn how to create high contrast black and white photos in Adobe Photoshop. To create high contrast BW photos we need to add Gradient Map Adjustment Layer and Levels Adjustment Layer to increase the remove and hide saturation.

Tutorial details and resources

Difficulty: Beginner
Apps Used: Adobe Photoshop (CS5 or later)
Estimated Completion Time: 5′ Minutes
Resources: Girl Photo by Meg

Step 1 > Open the Image

First, open the image you want to convert to high contrast black and white.

high contrast black and white step 1

Step 2 > Gradient Map

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map and use the default black and white gradient.

high contrast black and white photos

high contrast black and white photos

Step 3 > Increase Contrast

You can increase the contrast in different ways but for this tutorial go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels. In settings tab decrease mid-tones to 1.17 and increase shadows to 10.

high contrast black and white photos

Conclusion

That’s all! Nothing fancy or complicated. Use this technique where you want to emphasize the contrast in your photos. You can also create a Photoshop Action and keep it in your filters list.

high contrast black and white final