Converting to B&W in PS, Rod Whelans

Our thanks to Rod Wheelans FRPS,MFIAP,MPAGB,FIPF,AMPA,APAGB. for allowing us to reproduce the following on B&W Conversion and Printing advice.

There are many, many ways of converting from a colour image to B&W, in Camera Raw, Photoshop and by 3rd party plug-ins. You can also choose “In-Camera” monochrome for a much smaller file but please don’t!

These include

1. Image►Mode►Greyscale (Surprisingly good but convert back to RGB)

2. Image►Adjust►Desaturate Shift+Ctrl+U (Eliminates colour without altering brightness values which can make different colours very similar.)

3. Image►Adjust►Hue&Saturation►Desaturate 100% (As above)

4. Image►Mode►Lab Delete all channels except the Lightness Channel, then Image►Mode►Greyscale, then Image►Mode►RGB (Gives lighter tones and separates colours better than just Greyscale)

5. I have my favourite quick method set up as an Action –
Image►Mode►Lab ►Desaturate► Image►Mode►RGB (I find this satisfactory for 90% of my images.)

6. Image►Adjust►Channel Mixer & tick the Monochrome and Preview boxes.
This is the favourite of many advanced workers as it gives a high degree of control using the colour sliders. It takes time to master but can be worth the effort. To maintain the same brightness levels you should aim for a combined value around 100% but please experiment. (You don’t usually touch the Constant slider). Try some of these combinations.

Red 100% Green 0% Blue 0% (Default Red filter effect)
Red 50% Green 50% Blue 0% (Good landscape effect)
Red 0% Green 100% Blue 0% (Green filter effect)

Note: Channel Mixer has been overtaken by the CS3 Mono Converter – a much better tool.

7. CS3 Monochrome Converter

Image►Adjust►Black&White Alt+Shift+Ctrl+B

When the menu opens the default settings are applied. You can try Presets or Auto and you can save your own custom presets. Whatever you do it is just a starting point.

Experiment with the colour sliders (make sure the Preview box is ticked) or you can adjust with the cursor hovering on the image. Choose the area you are interested in, Left Click and Drag. Only the colours that make up that area are adjusted but they are affected over the whole image.

You can also apply a colour tint. Tick the Tint box and experiment with the sliders.

8. Calculations

Image►Calculations Alt+ Ctrl+C

I don’t much like Calculations but nearly everyone is frightened of the dialogue box so it’s worth learning just to impress the less adventurous!

All it does is blend two grayscale channels in various combinations and styles. Your task is to choose the two channels that blend best and to make it look darker (Multiply) or lighter (Screen). (By default it blends two copies of the Red Grayscale Channel in Multiply mode but you are free to choose many other channels and blend modes in multiple combinations).

9. Black & White Conversion from Camera Raw

I don’t use this much but it works.. When you open your image in Camera Raw – you can now open Jpeg and Tiff in the same menu – click on the HSL/Grayscale tab and tick the Convert to Monochrome box. Click on the Basic tab and adjust Exposure, Black Point, etc. Then click on Tone Curve tab and tweak your image there. Quick and easy and your image won’t need too much adjustment when you open it in Photoshop.

10. Magic with Hue & Saturation Layers

Open two Hue & Saturation Layers at the top of the stack, set the top one to Blend Mode Colour and move the Saturation Slider to Zero. Click on the lower Hue & Saturation layer and experiment with Hue Slider and the Saturation Slider – both in Master and in Red, Green & Blue.

You can also experiment with Lightness. For example, to darken a “blue” sky choose Blue from the drop down menu and move the Lightness Slider to Zero.

10. Printing B&W

This is a whole subject in itself but use a suitable good paper such as Permajet Portrait, Portfolio, Matt Plus or the spectacularly good Fibre Based Gloss (Neutral, Warmtone or Royal) which is the nearest thing to a traditional darkroom print I’ve seen. Use Oyster for a “Resin Coated” finish. Permajet also supply the best Ink Flow system on the market and will provide you with Free Custom made Profiles for your specific printer and your favourite papers.

If you don’t have an Epson 2400 or later and you need to avoid colour casts print RGB with a slight (brown) tone or Black Ink only at 1440 DPI. Better still buy a new printer!

If you do have a 2400 or better there is whole other world of Monochrome possibilities in the printer menu.

This is an extract from my “Photoshop for Advanced Beginners” workshop course notes.

Rod Wheelans FRPS MFIAP MPAGB FIPF AMPA APAGB 01387 257906
30 May 2009

Durham Big Ride Exhibition

Society members captured the essence of this great event in 2008 as a documentary project funded by DCC. To help launch the 2009 Durham Big Ride, which will take place on Sunday 6th September, there is an exhibition of members’ photographs in Durham Town Hall entrance, Durham Market Place until the end of May. More news of the exhibition is on:
The Northern Echo

Link to 2008 Pictures

All Pictures John Attle

Trio Print Comp. Judged by Alan Porrett ARPS,AFIAP,DPAGB,APAGB


1st Place.Sitting Room Crook Hall—Alan Stott

2nd Place.Silver Link—Don Bennett

3rd Place.Bede’s Tomb—John Gordon


1st Place.Joan—Gyles Glover

2nd Place.Love Struck—Christine Oliphant

3rd. Place.Triple Trouble—Dennis Hardingham


1st Place. Lost Soul—John Brown

2nd Place. High Level Bridge—Justine Matchett

3rd Place.Stairway to Heaven—Brian Race

Simon Allen’s Colour to Mono & IR Conversions

Here is Simon Allen’s Colour to Mono & IR Conversion techniques he demonstrated on Thursday.


1. Open colour image of your choice in Photoshop.

2. Convert to monochrome using Chanel Mixer. Tick the monochrome box and adjust the three colour channels to obtain the best conversion.

3. If the image looks a little flat, increase contrast using a Curves Adjustment Layer. Moving the top point of the curve a little to the right and the base point a little to the left will have the effect of brightening highlights and darkening shadow areas. A reasonably contrasty image is desirable for creating the infra red effect.

4. To reproduce the characteristic graininess of an infra red image, create a new adjustment layer and fill it with 50% gray by going to Edit→Fill→50% gray (chosen from the use box). Then add noise Filter→Noise→Add Noise (ensuring that the Monochrome and Gaussian Blur boxes are ticked. I would initially suggest a setting of between 40% and 60%. Finally, change the blending mode on the layers palette to Soft Light and adjust the opacity of the layer to achieve the desired effect.

5. To re-create the glow around highlights that infra red images tend to exhibit go back to the background layer and create a duplicate of it. Apply Gaussian Blur Filter→Blur→Gaussian Blur with a suggested setting of around 30 pixels. Adjust the opacity of this layer until the image adopts the appearance of an infra red print.

6. Final adjustments to contrast can be achieved by the use of a Curves or Levels layer. The dodge tool set on ‘highlights’ may also be used to improve the glow in highlight details, such as foliage and other greenery, as often seen in infra red images.



1. Open colour image of your choice in Photoshop.

2. Select Image → Mode → Lab Color.

3. Open Channels palette: Window → Channels.

4. Click on lightness channel. The lab, a and b channels will be switched off.

5. Select Image → Mode → Grayscale. This will leave only a gray channel in the open palette.

6. Holding down Ctrl and Alt, click on the thumbnail image in the channels palette. This will select all pixels between white and mid gray. If you have a version of Photoshop with a Histogram palette, this will be clearly shown.

7. However, we wish to select those pixels representing black to mid gray. Therefore go to Select → Inverse.

8. Open the layers palette: Window → Layers.

9. Change image back to colour file: Image → Mode → RGB Color.

10. Select Layer → New Fill Layer → Solid Color. A New Layer box will open, click OK. This will open the Color Picker. Click on a colour of your choice. The exact colour is unimportant at this stage but, if you desire a warm tone, click on a red part of the spectrum or, if you prefer a cool tone, select a blue part of the spectrum. Once a colour is selected click OK. Your image will probably look rather washed out at this stage – don’t worry.

11. On the Layers palette, click on the little downward facing arrow in the blending mode window. This is the box at the top left of the palette which will presently be at ‘normal’. Click on Multiply from the drop down menu.

12. You now have a toned monochrome image.

13. If you are unhappy with the colour, contrast or tonal quality of the image (or simply wish to experiment), these can easily be altered.

14. Double click on the coloured thumbnail shown in the uppermost of the two layers in the Layers palette. This will re-open the Colour Picker. Simply click anywhere on either the large graded colour box or on the vertical strip spectrum until you achieve the desired result. Click OK.

15. Voila!

Many thanks to Simon for allowing us to post these.


The Bowburn Centenary Banner and Bowburn Junior School Banner were paraded, along with others, to celebrate the opening of the new Lamp Cabin at Beamish Museum on Saturday 28th March. Members of the Society completed a documentary project on the Bowburn Banner in 2006 and have been photographing its progress in the community ever since.

Picture Tony Griffiths.

Picture John Attle

Results, Trio Projected Images.judged by Keith Robertson

1st Place.Barry Armitage— Sweet Music

2ndPlace. Angy Ellis—Rock Chick

3rd Place. Gitte Edelman— Happy Despite Ink Accident

1st Place. David Trout—Walking in North Bailey

2nd Place. Angy Ellis—Abstract Parking

3rd Place. Les Travis—Prebends Bridge

1st Place. David Trout—Schizophrenia

2nd Place.Dennis Hardingham—Junior School Musical

3rd Place. Les Travis— All at Sea