Convert HDR to Black and White in Elements

If you want to convert your high dynamic range (HDR) images to black and white, Photoshop Elements has a handy Convert to Black and White feature that gives you some creative control over the process. It’s probably the most popular method to convert a color image to black and white in Elements.

Finish editing the image. This includes noise reduction, contrast enhancements, and sharpening. You should have a layer ready to convert to black and white.

To use the Convert to Black and White feature in Photoshop Elements, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Enhance→Convert to Black and White.

    The Convert to Black and White dialog box has the following sections:

    • Preview: In the Before and After windows, see the effects of the settings you choose.

      image0.jpg
    • Select a Style: From this handy list of presets, choose from styles that blend color information (intensity, not hue) from the three color channels. See a comparison in this figure.

      image1.jpg
    • Adjustment Intensity: Use these sliders to adjust the percentage of each color channel (Red, Green, and Blue) used in the conversion. Ideally, they should add up to 100%, but you have some creative latitude. You can also alter contrast using the Contrast slider.

  2. Make adjustments to the conversion by moving the Red, Green, Blue, and Contrast sliders. If you don’t like the results, click the Undo button. If you really mess up, click the Reset button to remove all your changes and start over.

    A little change goes a long way here. Too much, and the image will be white (too much intensity coming from one or all channels). Too little, and the image will be black. Over-accentuating contrast tends to posterize the image, although that can sometimes be a cool artistic effect.

  3. When you’re finished and want to approve the conversion, click OK.

    The image is converted and appears in the Elements workspace, as shown in this figure.

    image2.jpg

This isn’t the last stage of image processing. You’ll want to save your work, most likely as a Photoshop (.psd) file and continue editing. In particular, black-and-white images benefit from further contrast enhancements as well as dodging and burning.

It’s a good idea to duplicate the Background layer before you make any changes. This preserves the original, tone mapped image in the file and allows you to go back and start over if you need to. In Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, right-click the background layer and choose Duplicate Layer. Rename the new layer and continue.

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