Why I never use Photoshops built in Black & White Filter and how I updated BlackRoom 1.2

As of 2023, this is the absolute best way to get dramatic black and white I have discovered. Plus I just did a big update to my Blackroom actions (login here if you own Blackroom)

But today’s video will fill you with black and white-ness, even if you don’t use my actions.

I’ll show you the best way to create black and white in Photoshop and why it;’s better than doing it only in Lightroom as we edit a landscape and a portrait. Go fullscreen and watch this one in 4k.

You can get BlackRoom here and if you’ve bought it, login and download your update.

Improving your Dramatic black and white is about nuance.

New photographers often make the mistake of thinking that dramatic black and white is more about adding contrast. Something the opposite is true. It’s actually about using shadow correctly.

That’s why you see me in the video referencing to the Zones and thinking about where I want the tone to be placed. You control all of that.

Speaking on shadow, If you’ve never been to one of my free Shadow Hackers LIVE workshops don’t miss the next one.

This lovely portrait edited fine in Lightroom. But in Blackroom it refined much more.

Lightroom, C1, or Photoshop for Dramatic black and white?

Both work great as you’ll see in today’s hands-on video. If you have a good editing plan they bother convert beautifully. But I’ll show you in today’s video why you will always get a bit more if you finish in Photoshop, even if you started out in Lightroom or Capture One (which is what I do).

In the end, you can do all of this manually, create your own tools, presets, actions etc if you are really experienced, or use tools like my Silver presets and Blackroom actions.

The main thing is to try the methods I showed you today and your dramatic black and white photos will touch the sky sell more and win competitions. Really.

That is the power of the dramatic black and white. Let me know what you think.

Gavin Seim

Using a gradient map and layers in PS I had more control in this photo from Yosemite National Park

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About the Author

Glad you're here.

I'm from WA State USA and started studying photography in 97. I started work as a pro (using that word loosely because I sucked) using film at age 16. I learned fast but was not as easy to find training then. Sometimes I beat my head against the wall until I figured stuff out.

As digital dawned I went all in and got to study with masters like Ken Whitmire. In 09 I founded the Pro Photo Show podcast. I started promoting tone-focused editing. When Lightroom arrived, I started developing tools to make editing and workflow better.

20 years of study and photography around the country earned me a Master of Photography (M.Photog) from PPA. I got to see my workshops and tools featured in publications across the industry. Once I even won the prestigious HotOne award for my "EXposed" light and tone workshop.

Wanting something calmer, I moved to Mexico in 2017. It's a land of magical light. I'm here now exploring light and trying to master my weak areas. I make videos of that for my Youtube channel, sharing what I learn. I hope you'll stick around and be part of Light Hunters Tribe... Gavin

Gavin Seim

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