Watch Me Edit: How to Convert an Image to Black and White

Watch Me Edit: How to Convert an Image to Black and White

I’m going to start a new blog post series called watch me edit! And it is what it sounds, I’m going to be posting videos of me editing images. I don’t know about you, but I learned a lot by watching someone else edit. That’s how I learned 90% of my editing process.

If you’re curious about reasons why you would want to convert an image to black and white, read my blog post about it! I give you 5 Reasons to Convert an Image to Black and White and they’re gooooooodddddd reasons, just sayin’! Let’s dive in! But first….

If you haven’t already learned about manual mode, it’s essential! Especially when photographing in tricky light! I have a new class –  LEARN MANUAL: how to take control of your camera (by clicking on this link and signing up, you’ll get updates on anything new to this course). It’s not complete yet, but by signing up for updates you’ll be the first to know when it is ready! Plus some early bird pricing (yes, please!).

check out my A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting in Black and White post

Watch Me Edit: How to Convert an Image to Black and White in Lightroom

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what editing program I use and why

I love love love to use Lightroom to edit my images. On occasion, I do pull my images into Photoshop to either clone or add a little more pop. But, the majority of the time I use Lightroom for everything. I love it so much! I love how easy it is to use and I love the edits I’m able to produce in seconds.

a good SOOC (straight out of camera) is important

Before we get started, I wanted to dive into just how important it is to have a good SOOC. Light and exposure IN camera are so so important. Don’t take pictures thinking, ‘Oh, I can fix this in post!’. You should be taking pictures to make post processing easy. Even if you love editing, you don’t want to make it hard on yourself by taking a really crappy SOOC! This is true for any post processing, and not just black and white edits!

I’m a constant under exposure, and for that reason, my style is a little darker. If you have a brighter style, where your whites are really white, make sure you are not blowing any highlights. Highlights are not as easily fixed. If anything, make sure you have proper exposure SOOC and then brighten your photo in post to get the style you love. Be smart with how you expose your images!

Now that I’ve blabbed about the importance of SOOC, on to the video!

In case I went to fast in the video, here are the settings I tweaked to make this a nice deep black and white.


  • Exposure: -0.36
  • Contrast: +29
  • Highlights: -17
  • Shadows: -35
  • Whites: +9
  • Blacks: -38
  • Clarity: +15
  • Dehaze: +7

If you have any questions about how I convert my images to black and white, do not hesitate to ask! I am happy to help!


Watch Me Edit: How to Convert an Image to Black and White in Lightroom

After B&W Conversion_ALY8190

As always, thank you so much for swinging by!


10 Must Read Photography Books

There are so many things to learn when it comes to photography. Which is one of the reasons I love it so much. But trying to learn these concepts on  your own can be quite the challenge. There are plenty of wonderful books out there to help you learn new techniques. From editing, to taking the picture, to even blogging, there are tons and tons of books out there. Here are my must read books regarding anything related to photography.

need some help setting goals? check out my Settings Goals post.



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1. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5: Classroom in a Book – I am very slowly making my way through this book. But just within the first 40 pages I have learned so much! If you are a newbie to Lightroom like I am, this book is definitely the one for you. I love how it has exercises that you can follow along with. It has a hands on approach and I love it. I’m excited to continue going through it and learning more about Lightroom.

2. Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book (2017 release) – I do not have this book, but I assume it’s similar to the one above. I have Creative Cloud (CC) and would most likely benefit from this book. If you need help with Creative Cloud and need a little more help than just with Lightroom, this is the book for you.

3. The Design Aglow Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography: 100 Modern Ideas for Photographing Newborns, Babies, Children, and Families – This book has so many great ideas and tips to creating images. Not only are there tips on every page, but every photograph has the settings that were used and what type of light was used. Reading through the book is easy and fun. The pictures are beautiful and the tips are so helpful. A must read!

4. Mastering Exposure – This book takes you through the basics of exposure – ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. It breaks each one down and explains them better. Then after that it goes through and explains how to achieve certain effects with specific settings. It’s a great read and will definitely help you if feel like you are struggling with exposure.

5. Mastering Composition – Just like Mastering Exposure, this book will also take you through the basics of composition and then go more in depth on how to get certain comps.

6. Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies – I haven’t read this book but it is definitely on my list! I have heard great things about it. Skin in photographs is probably one of the hardest things to get correct. This book will help you do just that each and every time you edit your images! Going along with this book, another great guide is Flawless: The Secrets of Skin (Sarah Wilkerson) from Clickin Moms.

7. Photographic Composition: A Visual Guide – I’ve had my eye on this book for quite a while, but I need to finish a few books before buying any more! This book has beautiful photographs, with an in-depth breakdown of the photographs and why the composition works for it. Definitely buying this one next!

8. Capture the Moment: The Modern Photographer’s Guide to Finding Beauty in Everyday and Family Life – This book is next on my list of books to buy. Created by Clickin Moms, this book goes through natural light, composition, storytelling, fine art, black & white, low light, and the technical aspects of photography. Along with having beautiful images for each category, there are also creative exercises to try and perfect. This book is perfect for getting out of a rut and being inspired.

9. Mastering Macro Photography – This book comes out October 1, 2017 and I am beyond excited about it. It is similar to Mastering Exposure and Mastering Composition – made and written by the same company. This book is sure to have beautiful photographs along with ways to achieve certain macro effects. Looking at Amazon, it will also explain the best equipment to use to get macro photographs. I’m really excited to get this book, I know it will help my macro photography.

10. Mastering Landscape Photography – Landscape photography is something that I dream of becoming better at and this book will help me do just that. I love the images in this book and the beautiful ways David Taylor explains things.

There are so many books out there. What photography (or editing, writing, blogging) books do you recommend? Post in the comments below!


Why You Should Be Comparing Your Photos in Lightroom

I love Lightroom. I started off using Photoshop. It was just the first thing I could get my hands on and I really didn’t know much about Lightroom at the time. Photoshop was a little overwhelming at first, but I was able to edit my images they way I wanted to. Then I finally got introduced to Lightroom. And, I’ll be honest, I thought it was hard. I didn’t understand how to edit images. I didn’t like it at first. But, I started watching tutorials and reading some helpful blog posts, and I finally was able to realize that Lightroom is actually far easier to work in than Photoshop. If you haven’t used Lightroom before, give it a go. It’s user friendly, you can do almost everything you want in it, and if you really need to, you can upload your photos into Photoshop for the finishing touches.

need some blogging ideas? check out my 100 photography blog post ideas.


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Lightroom has this really awesome feature that allows you to compare images while you are editing them. Basically, you can pick one image as your reference image, and then an image that you are working on, called the active image. This feature is truly amazing and is one of the many reasons why I love Lightroom. All you simply do is click on the R|R button in light room, down where you can few just the image you are working on, reference, or see a before and after. After clicking the R|R button, you simply drag the image you want into the reference slot. After that, you can edit any picture you want and it will show up in the active spot. This feature is a life saver! Here are a few reasons why you should be comparing your photos in Lightroom.

it helps you have consistency in your work

This is a big deal. Having consistency in your work makes you look a little more professional. And who doesn’t want that? Say you had a photo shoot with a client. You want all of those images to look similar, to have the same feel to them. That’s why this feature is awesome! You can make sure your editing is the same, white balance, and overall feel of the image.

it helps you have consistent white balance

Speaking of white balance – I will be honest and say that white balance is probably my biggest problem. I think since using this feature in Lightroom I’ve been having more consistent white balance across all of my images. I really strive for consistency, but it is pretty hard. This feature definitely helps with that.

it will help you grow as a photographer

I think this goes without saying. The more consistent your work is, the better your photography will become. The more you compare and make sure each photo is consistent with the last, the easier it will become to get your white balance correct across all images.

Lightroom has many great features just like this one. What is one reason why you love Lightroom? Or are your a Photoshop person? Why do you prefer Photoshop more? Tell me in the comments!


5 Reasons to Convert an Image to Black and White

I’m in love with black and white photography. There’s just something about it that pulls me right in. It can take an ok photo to a great photo. Sometimes color is necessary to help portray your story. But there are times when converting to black and white just makes your photo that much better. Be sure to be thoughtful when decided whether an image should be converted to black and white or not. If you’re not sure when it is appropriate to convert, keep reading for 5 reasons to convert to black and white.


I’m always drawn to a good black and white. I love my color edits, as well. But there’s just something about black and white that always draws me in. It can enhance the emotion, mood, and overall image. Here are some examples of why I choose to convert to black and white.


1. to enhance the details

I love love love converting my macro shots to black and white. I find that it enhances the water droplets and makes them sparkle. It also enhances the details. Of course I love my macro shots in color, too, but I always convert to black and white if I feel like it will enhance a certain part of my image. For the image above, it brings out the water droplets more, which was the main focus of the image.


2. when the white balance is just off

I really try to make the white balance work for every image….but let’s be real here, it doesn’t always work. Lightroom has plenty of resources in adjusting your white balance. But, let’s be honest here, sometimes it’s just off no matter what we do. There are times when there’s just too much green. When there’s color casts (illustrated above in the color image). Sometimes, the black and white conversion just makes it easier.


3. to add drama and enhance a mood

I really love how dramatic a black and white image can feel. I usually like to convert any image I feel like has any sort of drama. Sure the color image looks great, but the black and white takes it to the next level. It can really enhance the mood of an image.


4. to show off the shadows

If you have an image that has amazing shadows, often times converting it to black and white just make them that much better. So, try it. Convert that image to black and white. I usually try to have neat lighting in my black and whites, the light always adds to the feel and mood of a black and white. Having nice shadows and converting to black and white creates balance in your photos.


5. to make an image feel classic

The first word that comes to mind every time I view a black and white is classic. Black and whites just have that feel to it. Choosing to convert to black and white will give them that timeless, classic feel. I love including both color and black and white in my client galleries, so that they can hold on to those memories.

Choosing to convert to black and white is a personal and artistic choice. Whether you want to enhance the mood, get rid of distracting white balance, or just simply make an image classic, black and white is definitely a powerful tool in photography. Have fun converting your images to black and white in Lightroom and try to convert images that seem like they need a little bit of help. You never know, you just might like the outcome.

3 Tips for Cloning Out Objects in Your Images

I really strive to get things right in camera. I like getting the settings right so that little to no editing is required. I like cleaning up my surroundings so that everything in the frame is exactly what I want it to be. However, there are times where this just doesn’t happen. Or where I feel like the chaos doesn’t add to the story of the image. There are definitely times when it’s OK to clone things out + there are times where it is hard or unrealistic to clone things out. I have found that following the three tips below really help in my cloning and in cleaning up an image.


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1. clone out areas in shadows

When thinking about taking a picture that I know I will have to clone things out later, I always consider trying to make those objects in shadow. If I know I can’t move the things right then and there, I try to use light as my friend and put those things in shadow. Because of this, it is easier to clone out the chair, trash can, and table in the image below. Consider ways you can use shadow to your advantage to get rid of objects, and to make it easier in post processing.

2017-02-28_0001Taken with the Nikon D610 + Nikon 50mm 1.8.

2. know when not to clone

There’s a time and a place for cloning. If you have a distraction in your image and you try cloning it, but no matter how hard you try, or how long you stare at the computer screen, it just doesn’t look natural….let it go. It’s OK. Not every image has to be perfect. In fact, sometimes the things we desperately want to clone out could actually add to the story of a chaotic life. Whether that was what you were going for or not, embrace it. Not everything can be cloned out. Accept this fact and move on.

3. use photoshop

I am a Lightroom user. I find that the cloning tool in Lightroom works for me 90% of the time. But there are occasional photos where I need more help than what LR can give me. When this is the case, I take my images into Photoshop where the cloning tool is easier and better. One of my personal favorite tools in Photoshop is the Spot Healing Brush Tool, it makes it so easy to get rid of unwanted objects and to polish up your image.