photoshop creative

Create a monochrome masterpiece in Photoshop Elements

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
February 24, 2015

Understand the conversion process for stunning black-and-white images

1. Duplicate the background

Before doing anything in Photoshop Elements, duplicate the Background layer by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+J. This layer will retain anything underneath it, so we can use this to edit non-destructively.

2. Watch monochrome magic

Go to the Enhance menu at the top of Elements and navigate to Convert to Black and White. You image will instantly turn to monochrome, using a default setting that might not look right at first.

3. Pick a handy preset

Inside the Black and White menu there are helpful presets. Pick one according to your image, such as Scenic Landscape, and then hit OK. This will enhance key parts of the photo for maximum impact.

4. Use adjustment layers

Once you’ve converted an image to monochrome, some parts of your photograph may still not look too dark or light. Add a new Levels adjustment layer by clicking on the circular button at the top of the Layers panel and selecting Levels.

5. Add in some light

Slide the middle of the three markers in the Levels adjustment to the left slightly to brighten the whole dark patches. Ignore the fact that the whole image will become brighter. Press Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the adjustment’s layer mask to hide the effect.

6. Brush out the mask

Select the Brush tool (B) and choose a soft tip and a medium size to fir over the subject that needs lightening. Your foreground colour should be white. Carefully paint to reveal the Levels adjustment underneath and to lighten it up.