Digital Photography Tips, Tutorials and Resources
Do you want to learn how to make a photo black and white except one color in Adobe Lightroom? Selective coloring in photo editing can give your image a fun and playful feel, or make it more sophisticated and striking.
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use Lightroom to make your image black and white except for one color.
First, you’ll need to make sure you have Lightroom downloaded and installed on your device. When purchase Lightroom through Adobe’s Creative Cloud Plan for $9.99/month, you also get Photoshop!
Adobe now offers two versions of Lightroom — Lightroom Classic and Lightroom. Lightroom is a lighter version of Lightroom Classic, so I’ll be using Lightroom Classic in this tutorial.
Making a Photo Black and White Except One Color
First, you’ll need to import your image to Lightroom Classic. You can do that by opening Lightroom and selecting Import.
If you’d like to edit your image for sharpness, exposure, or clarity, you can do that now. Once you’re satisfied with the general look of your photo, we can move on to selective color editing.
When you’re done, access Lightroom’s Develop mode, located at the menu bar on the top of the application.
I’ve decided to turn this image black and white except for the model’s red shirt. In order to achieve this effect, I’ll go to HSL mode under Lightroom’s editing sidebar, and select Saturation.
Then, I’ll decrease the saturation of every color except red to -100. This will turn all other colors grayscale, which will produce a black and white effect.
Your Saturation menu will now look like this:
My image is now almost entirely black and white except for the subject’s shirt:
Next, I’ll increase the photo’s saturation of red so that the color looks more vibrant. This isn’t an exact science. Just play with the saturation of your remaining color until you’re happy with it. For this image, I settled on a red saturation of +35.
Now the red shirt of my model clearly pops against the desaturated background:
You’ll notice that some red remains in the background of the photograph and in the model’s face. We can remove this unwanted red coloration with Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush, located just under the Histogram.
Click on the Adjustment Brush and set its saturation to -100. Then, use the brush paint over portions of the image that have retained an unwanted hue.
Once I painted over those problem areas with the Adjustment Brush, my finished photo looked like this:
Review of Steps for Selective Coloring in Lightroom
Once you get the hang of it, editing photos for selective colors in Lightroom is pretty simple. Here’s an overview of the steps it takes to turn an image black and white except one color in Lightroom:
- Import your photo to Lightroom
- Enter Lightroom’s Develop mode
- Click on HSL/Color on the right-hand editing panel
- Select Saturation
- Decrease the saturation of all colors to -100 except for the color you want to retain
- Use the Adjustment Brush with a saturation of -100 to touch up problem areas
Try this editing technique on your photos and see what kinds of striking edits you can achieve!
We hope this tutorial has helped you learn how to make an image black and white except one color in Lightroom. Check out this tutorial to learn how to accomplish the same technique in Adobe’s Photoshop, or these popular tutorials on our blog:
- 121 Best Free Lightroom Presets That You Will Fall in Love With
- 17 Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers
- How to Upload Photos Directly from Lightroom to WordPress
If you learned something in this tutorial and are excited to try out this technique, let us know how it goes! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more photography editing tutorials, photography tips, and WordPress plug-in info.