Black and White Film Grain Photoshop Action


Today we are going to learn how we can easily process a photo into “film like black and white”. So first we need to know which photo is good for “Black and White effect” and which is not. Black and White photo consists of shadow, mid-tone and highlight. So when we want a photo to make it look Black and white photo, then we must ensure these three particular things of a photo. So today I am going to give a tutorial on how to process a “Black and White photo” using Adobe Photoshop. You can also see Adobe Lightroom presets if you are not comfortable with this one. We will be following few steps to give that “Black and White photo” a “Film print look”.

Here is the photo which I am going to use to show you the process to make a very beautiful look of “Black and White photo”.


It’s a very regular photo of a park. I took this photo in a winter morning. The color is a little bit cold. So it’s a question to you why I am using this photo? The answer is not that simple to me. I am using this photo because in the photo you can see a very nice shape of curve line going through the photo and it was my subject in the photo. But I think color is breaking my view of the curve. So if I give the photo “Black and White effect” then it will give you a very well description of my subject. So to focus my subject I am making this photo “Black and White”.


At first you need to open the photo you want to give “Black and White effect” in Adobe Photoshop. To open it in Adobe Photoshop click on the “File”. Then click “Open” and select the photo. You can also open the photo by dragging it to the Photoshop field. If you photo is in desktop then “left click” on the photo and drag it to the Photoshop empty field. Then loose the “Left click”. So you inserted the photo in Photoshop.



Creating a “Duplicate layer” is very easy and very useful for any kind of Photoshop work. It will preserve your original photo and edit the duplicated one. By this you can reverse the command too. To open a “Duplicate layer” go to the layer option and click “Duplicate layer”. You can see a “Background layer” in the layer dialogue box.



I am going to use my background layer to give my image a nice black and white effect, and since I’ll be adding a few more layers after that, let’s keep track of what I am doing with each layer by giving them more informative names than simply “Layer 1”, “Layer 2”, and so on. Double-click directly on the name “Background layer” in the layers palette and rename it to “Black and white”.



Now select the “Image” from the top menu option. Then select “Adjustment” and select “black and white” (This option is only available in the CS versions of Adobe Photoshop). Now a dialogue box will appear named “black and white”. You can see desaturated color bars in there. You can click to the “Auto” to make the black and white Adobe Photoshop itself. You can also change those color scales manually. It gives better result.




You can see in the photo above that I decrease the yellow color scale to 10. As I said there has three basic thing in black and white photo. To give a very dark color and to highlight my subject, I decreased that. Click “Ok” when you think it’s good in your view.


Tone curve is very essential to give a great tone in the photo. You can give your photo to any look by changing those tone curves. To adjust the tone curve go to the “Image” at the top of the option menu, select  “Adjustment” and select “Curve”.

Here you can see a “Straight Line” which represents the whole RGB of your photo. You can give a good looking tone using “Tone curve”. But I need to change the contrast of definite color. So click on the “RGB”. Now here it’s showing RED, GREEN, BLUE particularly.

Select the “RGB” and change make the curve as shown in below. I select the lower end of the straight line and change the input to 0 and output 0. Now select any point on that curve and change the input to 88 and output 81. It gives a little contrast. Now we need to give it some highlight. So select another point on the curve and change the input to 147 and output 155. Click “Ok” to end this task.



To adjust the level, go to the “Image” from the top menu option. Then select “Adjustment” and select “Level”. There has three triangle showing three layers of the black and white photo such as shadow, mid-tone and the highlight. Adjust them according to the look you want to give your own black and white photo. Click “Ok” and go back to the image.



To add the “Offset” in the photo go to the “Image” from the top menu option. Then select “Adjustment” and select “Exposure”. A dialogue box will appear named as “Exposure”. Now increase the offset of the photo sliding the scale to the right of the offset.


Flatten the layers of the image to get your desired “Black and White effect”


So you can see how easily a simple photo can be processed in a good way to make it look like film black and white look.

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