Last week in Black and White 101, I gave you a list of techniques to keep in mind when you’re shooting images you want to be Black and White. This week, I’m going to show you three editing programs that will switch your photos from color to B&W. Each has different levels of difficulty and customization.

The first is HP Photo Creations. You can download it here. It is the easiest of all the programs, but offers zero customization.

Open up the program and click “create a print.”

In the menu on the left, click on “basics” and then “black and gray.”

At this point you’ll be prompted to add a photo. Once you’ve uploaded your image, click on it in the workspace, select Photo Tint, then Monochrome.

Your finished product will look like this:

The second program is Picasa, which you can download here. Picasa has two options – a basic B&W, and a filtered B&W.

Once you’ve selected your photo, click on effects. For the basic B&W, all you have to do is click “B&W” and you’re done!

Filtered B&W gives you more options.

Once you’ve selected Filtered B&W, click on Pick Color. A color chart appears along with some preselected colors above it. Move your mouse over the colors and watch how your photo changes. When you find the effect you like, select it and hit Apply. When I use Picasa, I like to click on the Red filter. It makes skin tones look like porcelain.

Take a look at how Picasa’s basic and filtered options give different results:

Basic B&W

Filtered B&W

The final editing program is Photoshop. You can download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop here. Photoshop gives the ultimate in editing control, but it is also a much more difficult program in general.

Load your photo, then click Image -> Adjustments -> Black & White:

The color slider box pops up. Move around the color sliders and watch the tones change in your photo.

There’s no magic percentage for each color to get the perfect black and white photo. You have to experiment with each one to discover what strikes you.

When I used Photoshop, this was my final result:


These are just three of the MANY photo editing products out there. What are some of your favorites and why?

Next week is Black And White Photography 103: Printing!