Black and White Presets for various RAW developers

Like the Black-and-White style, but don’t want to put a lot of time into mastering B&W conversion? All photo editors provide a B&W conversion for color images. And most also offer a variety of styles for these. Pre-packaged tonal adjustments that may be called actions, effects, film simulations, looks, LUTs, profiles, presets, or tonalities. Regardless of label, one click and the B&W takes on a different style.

First, here are the full color original versions of the two shots. The one of the cars was taken with a Canon 50D and Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 set at 20mm. I selected that scene for it’s rather subtle tones. The other shot, of a street crowd, was taken with an Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic 45-200 at 45mm. That scene has a nice variety of colors.

Except the crowd shot is not exactly original. Even starting with the RAW data, Oly is a little heavy on the saturation. So I corrected that with ACDSee, then converted that result to a TIFF file. All of the crowd B&W conversions shown here started with that one TIFF.

Such styles can be characterized. The first collection will be high contrast.

(Click on any thumbnail to see that version in the large panel)



Next set will be “mild” styles. Those that are more realistic, or true to life.


A minor variation on the mild style is one that softens the blacks. In the old days of film this could happen when the film was fogged by stray light. In these examples the ACDSee action “FadeWeak” shows it best. The others also have it to a slight degree.



High key photos are created mainly through composition and lighting.  These emphasize brightness or lightness.  Post processing can take a small role in supporting high key.  Here are some subtle examples.



Our last category will be tints and faded colors, no longer pure black and white.