Black and White Photo Series – Color Conversion (Photoshop Elements)

with 8 Comments

Black and White Photo Series – Color Conversion (Photoshop Elements)
by Jenifer Juris

Use the traditional black and white photo menu to its maximum power by customizing the color conversion process.

This tutorial is for Photoshop Elements. Click here for the Adobe Photoshop version of this tutorial.

Step One: Open a Photo

  • Open a photo (File > Open) that you wish to use.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose File > Duplicate. Click OK.
  • Close the original photo.

Why this photo for black and white?

I chose this photo for a few reasons:

  • This photo has a single focus or one main subject.
  • This photo has various colors in it which will work well for highlighting the power of this tutorial.
  • This photo was taken outside so it’s well lit and already has good contrast to start with.



The Color Conversion Method:


You can customize the colors and how they convert to black and white which gives you more control.


This method can be more involved and might require more time than other methods.

Step Two: Convert the Photo to Black and White

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Enhance > Convert to Black and White.
  • In the dialog box, choose a style.

I find that the bottom four — Portraits, Scenic Landscape, Urban/Snapshots, and Vivid Landscapes) offer the most appealing options. For this photo, I’m using Scenic Landscape.



  • Adjust the Contrast Intensity slider.

For this photo, I adjusted the Contrast up to +13.

Note: Notice how in the after photo, the dark areas are more black and the overall sharpness of the photo has improved. You can especially tell this by looking at her face.




  • Adjust the Red, Green, and/or Blue Intensity sliders.

For this photo I adjusted the Blue to +16.

The goal is to make the lighter areas lighter and provide additional contrast. Remember that good contrast is where the dark areas are black (or almost black) and the light areas are white (or almost white).

Which slider you use will depend on the colors in your image.



  • Click OK to commit the changes.

Tips for using the Adjust Intensity sliders:

  • Each slider responds differently depending on the amount of that color and overall tone in the photo.
  • Each photo will require different adjustments, but I recommend increasing the contrast as a first step.
  • If you make an adjustment you don’t like, press Ctrl Z (Mac: Cmd Z) to step back and try something different.


Step Four: Save the Photo

  • Save the photo (File > Save As) as a high quality JPEG file with a unique name.
  • Close the working copy without saving.

Here’s a scrapbook page I made using the photo I converted to black and white using this method:



Page & Photo: Jenifer Juris
Tutorial: Black and White Photo Series – Color Conversion by Jenifer Juris
Kit: APP Airy by Anna Aspnes
Extras: Frame – APP Beautiful Day by Anna Aspnes, Elements – APP Document by Anna Aspnes
Fonts: Betterfly Narrow, Betterfly Draft


Download PDF


After posting your results online,
return here and include the link in the comments.


Jenifer JurisAuthor: Jenifer Juris | Contact Us
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8 Responses

  1. Su Hall
    | Reply

    The link for Photoshop comes right back here! LOL
    Great tut!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Hi Su! Thanks for letting me know. It’s been fixed now! 🙂

  2. Kathy
    | Reply

    Great tutorial. Thank you. Now I need a tutorial on how you made your page! Love it!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thank you!!

  3. Nancy M Olson
    | Reply

    Thank you for a wonderful tutorial. Can’t wait to give it a try. Love the Betterfly fonts. Where can I get them?

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re very welcome! I believe I got them in a font package deal at either Design Cuts or Creative Market.

  4. Cynthia
    | Reply

    Excellent tutorial, thank you.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thanks!! 🙂

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