Adding Subtle Colors to a Black and White Image in Lightroom
Related Videos
Most Recent
Most Viewed


Learn how add subtle colors to a Black and White Image in Lightroom. By Yanik's Photo School.


Adding Subtle Colors to a Black and White Image in Lightroom Hi, guys! Yanik here for Yanik’s photo school and today we’re going back into Lightroom again. I'm just loving this software so much. I just can't get enough of it. And today I'm going to show you technique that I kind of fell on by surprise or by accident let’s say. I was wanting to convert one of my color images into black and white and when I selected gray scale here in Lightroom there was some color in the image and it was very subtle. It looked really cool and I thought where is that color coming from until I realized that I have added a gradient filter. Color one you know a little orange tint here, a little purple tint there and that had actually stay when I converted my images to black and white. Those filters were still there as still active. And I thought wow, this is a really, really cool. I have to show of my readers how to do this is really awesome. So this is what we’re going to do today. It’s very similar to split toning where you convert an image to black and white and then you use split toning features in Lightroom. If you haven’t seen that click on the link and dispose in, go see that tutorial that I did not too long ago. Now let’s look at this first image that I took back in Western Canada in the Rocky’s and let’s convert this to black and white. I just need to go down here. There are two ways where you can convert an image to black and white in Lightroom. Put this up here, you can click grey scale here or you can go down to HSL color and click grey scale there whichever one it doesn’t matter, it’s the same thing. Now, once you’ve converted your image to black and white if you want to adjust a little bit to your lighting you can do that and here we go. I like that which a little bit more exposure. And that’s a printable image. I would print that, put the other one but let’s see if we can add a bit of subtlety just a flash of color just to make it stand out a little bit more and people are going is this black and white or that’s sepia I'm not sure, let’s do that. I will select my adjustment brush and I will go to the color picker right here. Now I’ll show you a little trick that I've just learned from Matt or Lightroom killer tips and it’s awesome. Now if you're not following Matt you should, just go to and follow him on your RSS and its really cool tips that he show you there. And that trick is to click on this and then click less, click select you color. But keep your finger and you can actually go outside of Lightroom onto your desktop or if you’ve open up another photo or you have Photoshop and you want a specific Photoshop color you can go and open that and with your color picker as you can see you can't see this because its outside the Lightroom recording screen. But you can see the color pickers going all over the place here. And right now I'm on my desktop image and it’s going really all over the place. Selecting into the blue’s, going down into the hot colors and that’s a really cool way. And once you have your color just let go and that color will stay. Alright, now for this case I will just go with the warm orange you color here, that looks good. I’ll bring my brush here a little bit and then just start painting over. It looked bigger go faster here, just over the trees here. I'm doing this roughly just so you get a glimpse of these. Now of course this isn’t really subtle. It has a nice effect too and you can use that but I want to show you what subtlety can do to an image. All you need to do after that is go to the effects box that has opened up here. And just take the slider, there we go. And you can see a live preview of this. I think between 40 and 50 it looks good. So we’ll put it here and if you want we can add a little cool tint where the water is a little bit of a blue maybe more than aqua and I can go in and paint here and again we’re talking subtlety here so bring it down, bring it way down onwards barely noticeable and this blue I'm going to bring it down all the way to 21. And we can do that and take a darker blue here and maybe paint back here in the shadows just sort of it kind of brings us back for that water, increase balance and again we’re talking subtlety here so bringing this down. That’ll be good, there you go and that’s the subtlety of it. Now if I take away the adjustment brush point you can see that we have a nice black and white image with some subtle colors into it. And you could print that, put that on the wall, if you just still find them subtle you can just go back to each point and put some more color in or less. Let’s look at before and after, from gray scale, so this is before and this is after, isn’t that cool? That’s a really, really cool feature in Lightroom that’s so easily done. It’s all masque so it’s non destructive. And what I will do just show you another image and how I applied to that image as well. So let me just click on this next image of this beautiful pelican, selecting gray scale and this time we’re going to use a gradient filter. Now that a nice bluish just put that blue in the sky here, again we’re talking subtlety here so we’re going to really, really tone it down. And we’ll get our warm color for our hay and we’re going to bring that up and then it goes into the sky it makes a nice blend and that’s perfect. And then we can use the adjustment brush for the pelican and go get that blue maybe more than feathery blue. I would call it just for the top of the feathers here. I kind of went over here, so let me just undo that and start over there maybe a little bit up here, there we go again. We want subtlety so just tone it down and a reddish color for underneath here. Let’s say the sun’s bouncing on that hay hitting the bottom feathers. Just want to get the subtlety there. That actually looks good right there, maybe you tone it down just a tad and there you go. If I look at the before gray scale and after the subtle colors added very simply and easily with the graduated filter and the adjustment brush and you got your self some cool artistic photos that you can print put on your walls and people are going to go Wow! Is that black and white or you just have a hint of color in there. It looks good with your furniture blah-blah-blah, have them praise you and you can just tell them that it was so difficult to do and that if you tell them the secret you have to kill them. This is Yanik’s tutorial signing out for Yanik’s photo school, see you later bye, bye.