Simple Editing for Black and White Photos

A couple of weeks ago I posted some tips about seeing in black and white and I promised to follow it up with some tips on editing those photos. (This is a little late this week due to unexpected technical problems earlier in the week - the reality of being in a digital occupation!! Back to normal from next week!)

You may be able to shoot in black and white (or Monochrome) mode in your camera. This helps when first learning to shoot in black and white but you may find that some of the images are a bit flat looking. This is often because the camera just discards the colour information and loses some of the subtleties of colour and tone.

Fortunately with a quick tweak in an editing programme we can enhance this. But I always suggest that the best way to get a great black and white photo is to shoot in colour first and then convert it as you have far more control over the end result.

I am going to cover the basic tools for Mac and Windows 10 photo editors and good apps on your mobile devices. Other software such as Adobes Photoshop Elements or Lightroom have options too and will give you even more control over the end result should you want to explore more.


1. Open the photo in Photos and click on Edit

2. Open the Filters menu - you have 3 mono options to choose from Monoc, Tonal and Noir.

3. Select the filter with the look you prefer.

In this example I chose Mono as it preserved more detail.

4. Open the Adjust menu - adjust your image using the black and white slider and/or the light slider. I used both - I darkened in the Light slider to add more contrast to the image which was quite bright to start with and I moved the black and white to the right. You can also play with sliders below this control to control the look even further.

Windows 10: Sadly Microsoft has seen it fit to dumb down the features in their picture editor - a real shame! So there are fewer controls than the other options discussed here but you can still produce a reasonable black and white image.

1. Open the photo in Photo Viewer.

2.Choose the Adjust menu. This gives you sliders for Light, Colour and Warmth. Move the sliders until you get a result you like.

3. Adjust Clarity to add a little definition (bit like sharpening it)

Mobile devicesSnapseed app to edit your photos. This is my go to editing app and best of all its free and available for both iOS and Android!: Try using the

1. Open the photo in the app. Click on the pencil icon in the bottom corner and scroll down to the second set of options to find the Black and White button.

2. The app will elect which black and white variation it thinks suits your picture.

In this case it chose Dark - which makes sense as in the other programmes I had chosen to darken and boost the contrast of the image. You can alter brightness and contrast in this tool if you don't quite like the effect.

3. Tapping the circular icon in the menu at the bottom will open a colour filter menu. Experiment with these - I found green worked well for this particular image.

If we compare the edits from all the options we can see there are subtle differences but that's part of the fun of experimenting!

Have fun playing with the different effects you can achieve with black and white!

As always if you have any questions then pop them in an email or message me via my Facebook page - Sarah Stephens Photography.

#blackandwhite #editing #photography #sarahstephensphotography

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Click the button above to get a free booklet Get Camera Confident and subscribe to my monthly newsletter  to keep up with all my news, workshop information and to receive photography tips.

Join me on social media! Click on the buttons below to find me!

  • Pinterest App Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram App Icon

All images © Sarah Holmes 2021 No reproduction without prior permission.