B&W Highlights is a free Lightroom preset that converts photos to black and white monochrome. It maximizes the brilliance of the photo's highlights and darkens blacks for contrast. It is a stunning take on the classic film look.
With its versatile look, you can use this preset on any type of photography, whether shot indoors or outdoors, from portraits to landscapes. It looks best on images with contrasting tones and rich textures. You can also use it as an Instagram filter if you want to try a retro feel in your feed.
Adds Brilliance to Highlights
Brilliance. This monochrome preset produces lustrous bright whites. This effect looks great as a background; because of its sheer whiteness, it sets the darker and more detailed elements apart. You can make the most of this effect by applying the preset on images that feature bright skies and vast, illuminated, waters.
You can see the above photo as an example. B&W Highlights works so well on photos of beaches and coasts. Examine how it significantly brightens the entire scene. The high-contrast tones help make the photo look expressive in black and white.
Balances Tones for Expressive Portraits
Monochrome Portraits. B&W Highlights works well on portraits because of its luminance. As you can see in the After photo above, the woman's face appears more illuminated, making her expressions more visible. Although the blacks look darker, the preset tempers the shadows so that they do not look harsh on the subject. More on this effect later.
Bright Expressions. The man's portrait above demonstrates the preset's tones well. Although it is bright, it doesn't blow out the highlights. The shadows are softer as well.
You can also examine how the preset handles white tones by comparing the man's shirt, his eyes, and teeth.
Produces Deep and Crisp Blacks
Crisp Dark Tones. The preset darkens blacks all the more to contrast with the highlights. This will set the right depth in such a bright monochrome aesthetic. Even with the heightened darkness, the preset still retains details in shadows.
In the example above, examine the woman's bonnet. It is now in a deep black tone, yet it is light enough for us to appreciate the knitting details. Look at the crisp grays on her denim jacket as well.
Rich Grays. The image above of an analog camera shows how the B&W Highlights preset draws out the subtleties in grays as well. Notice that the preset broadens the tonal range so that you get more shades of gray; in a black and white image, this replaces the role of colors. Even with the intense tones, you still can appreciate the elegance of monochrome.
B&W Highlights preset is for Lightroom Mobile, Desktop and...
Like all our presets, you can absolutely use B&W Highlights preset as is, right out of the box. With any preset you might need to make adjustments to accommodate your specific camera, settings, lighting and subject matter.
- Entirely Adjustable
- Compatible with Lightroom 4, 5, 6 and CC
- Performs with both PC, Mac, and Mobile
- Applicable to both RAW and JPG images
- 100% Free
This Free Lightroom Preset was last updated on February 19, 2020