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How To Create High Contrast B&W Images

How to Create High Contrast Black and White Images in Photoshop

Creating high-contrast black and white images in Adobe Photoshop is a great way for photographers to bring out the unique characteristics of their subject matter. To start, photographers should open an image in Photoshop. Editing can then begin on the duplicated layer while preserving the original image.

Darkening highlights, lightening shadows, adjusting contrast levels, and tweaking brightness values can all be done manually in order to attain a high quality high-contrast finished image. By applying these techniques, photographers can create stunning high-contrast black and white images with ease using Photoshop.

Tutorial Details & Resources

Difficulty: Beginner
Apps Used: Adobe Photoshop
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 the 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 when 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


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