How To Use Photoshop’s Channel Mixer For Black and White Photos

If you missed my post from a couple days ago, I’m experimenting with black and white photography this week. I very rarely take black and white pictures using settings on my camera; instead, I edit the photo later using Photoshop. Here’s an example…

Tunnels Beach in Kauai (Color)

Above is a picture of Tunnels Beach in Kauai. My Stronger Half and I spent an hour watching these surfers catch some of the largest waves on the island. As I was looking at this photo, I noticed the sun shining off of the crashing wave and the darkness of the ocean behind it. Translation: good characteristics for a black and white photograph.

The first thing I did was crop the photo with the “Rule of Thirds” in mind. I wanted the crashing wave to be the focus point of the photo, so I got rid of the extra sky and narrowed the focus around the surfers.

Tunnels Beach in Kauai (Cropped)

Next I used the Pioneer Woman’s “boost” Photoshop Action to increase contrast and make the image more crisp.

Tunnels Beach in Kauai (Boost)

Now for the black and white. First, I merged down all of my Photoshop layers from the effects added above. Next, I created a new adjustment layer and chose “Channel Mixer” as the layer type. When the Channel Mixer window came up, I checked the box titled Monochrome to convert the image to black and white.

Channel Mixer in Photoshop

In that same window I adjusted the Red, Green, and Blue source channel percentages to add the final touch. (Note: the Total percentage should always add up to 100%). Below is the finished product.

Tunnels Beach in Kauai (B&W)

And here’s a closeup.

Tunnels Beach in Kauai (Closeup)

Have I told you I ❤ Photoshop? I do. I reaallllly do.


About Wendy from Suburban Misfit

Social Media Manager by day; blogger and amateur photographer by night.
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3 Responses to How To Use Photoshop’s Channel Mixer For Black and White Photos

  1. Robin says:

    Nicely done. 🙂

  2. lindsaybrust says:

    Hey Suburban Misfit –
    I hope you had a relaxing weekend! I was wondering if there was any way for me to get a print of the boosted color photo above. Jason and I love it and want a copy for our house. Can we buy a copy or something? You can email me if you want or text. Enjoy your vacation!
    Talk to you soon!

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