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How to Create the Best Black and White Photos on Your Smartphone

May 1, 2020

Documenting the Everyday

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Knowing how to edit your photos in a black and white finish can really create a stunning picture. It can transform a simple snapshot into a memorable one and it only takes a few steps. Today I am sharing with you how to create the best black and white photos on your smartphone. 

When to edit your photos to black and white

There are a few key reasons why I edit my photos to a black and white finish.

WHEN THERE IS TOO MUCH DISTRACTION

There are some photos you may take that have a lot of distracting elements. And your focus, instead of being on the subject where it should be, is looking at everything else. I love using black and white as a way of drawing the viewer’s attention where I want it. Let me give you a visual.

I snapped this photo of my daughter hanging out with her little brother in my bed on a lazy Saturday morning. His bright red shirt along with the text on both his and his sister’s makes for some distraction that I didn’t care for.

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Editing it with a black and white finish allows for the image to feel a little cozier. Your eye is drawn to what they are doing and who is in the photo, rather than the glaring messages on their t-shirts.

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WHEN THE COLOR TONE IS OFF

Sometimes there’s not much we can do to beat bad coloring in a photo. Especially when we are documenting everyday life exclusively using our smartphone. Indoors and evening light are just a few examples of things that cause not-so-great color in our photos. Here is a photo I shot of my oldest son watching the very first address from the President back in March regarding the pandemic. He had just gotten home from his church youth group night and wanted to hear the announcement.

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Between the bedroom lights and the color cast from the phone screen, trying to reduce any amount of a certain color was only going to make for worse skin tones. I simply changed it to black and white and it immediately feels so much more pleasing to look at.

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WHEN I WANT A PHOTO TO EVOKE MORE EMOTION

Taking away the color of an image and editing to black and white allows for the focus to be completely on the subject, the emotion, and the feeling behind the photograph. Here is a photo of my daughter on her birthday. The original image is just fine, but when I change it to black and white…

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… I immediately feel more connected to the photograph even more than before. My eye is instantly connected to her sweet face the happiness beaming from her as we were singing happy birthday to her.

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How to create the best black and white photos on your smartphone

I could walk you through the many steps to achieve the perfect black and white. We could take a deep dive into Photoshop or Lightroom as we discuss grey tones and contrast. However, my goal in the DTE series and my approach in educating others in this area is to simplify the process in any way that I can. So the process of preserving and archiving can be a simple one. And in simplifying that process, allowing all of us to focus on what really matters. Living in the moment and enjoying the memories.

Exclusively for use with Lightroom mobile, my custom black and white preset is available for you to download for free just below and start using to transform your everyday photos. 

And don’t worry. The download comes with step-by-step instructions on how to install and use!

 

You can find my entire pack of presets right here in the shop that gives you a great variety when it comes to your photos.

And if you are looking to dive further into documenting the every day, learning how to take beautiful images, as well as create stunning home movies, find out more about the DTE courses right here.

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