In this quick tutorial, i will show you how to create cool black and white (b&w) photos in Photoshop. To create the high contrast b&w we need to add Gradient Map Adjustment Layer and Levels Adjustment Layer to increase the contrast.

Learn How to Create High Contrast B&W Photos in Photoshop

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


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

Design Bundles

Exclusive design deals and bundles for creative professionals

Start Downloading


We provide free and premium web resources for everyone. Download our graphic design elements, icons, backgrounds, vectors and everything else. Stay tuned for more freebies, Photoshop tutorials, and inspirational articles.