A black and white image of a boy and a woman talking by a river

Dark Contrast

Dark Contrast is a free Lightroom preset that transforms colored photos to vivid, high-contrast, black and white. It produces intense dark tones that complement its converted and brightened blue and green tones. Its settings are optimized to improve outdoor photos including landscapes and portraits.

Collection: Black and White Presets, Urban Presets
Best for: Portraits, Urban Photos, Landscapes
Style: Vivid, Bold Tones, Modern

While the monochrome aesthetic gives photos a classic feel, the bold tones give them a modern flavor. You can make the most of this look by applying the preset to urban pictures. Because of its timeless appeal, Dark Contrast can, therefore, be used as a cohesive Instagram filter as well.

Intensifies Dark Tones

A black and white photo of a man wearing a white shirt and standing in front of a building

Bold Blacks. The preset first switches processing to black and white mode then sets the adjustments for its defining look. For this, it tweaks the tone curve and other tonal adjustments. Dark Contrast darkens both blacks and shadows so that images have deeply defining tones. These look great against vibrant whites and light grays.

In the urban portrait above, examine how dark the building facade looks. The true black tones help accentuate the subject, especially as he is wearing a white shirt. Also, note the brilliance of the sky; the preset will later set this by enhancing some color-specific luminance.

Amplifies Contrast and Midtones

A monochrome photo of a rough terrain

Clear and Crisp. To complement the darkened tones demonstrated above, the preset also amplifies clarity and contrast. Not only do these intensify tones further, but they also reinforce midtones and accentuate some details. You can easily notice the result in the After photo above. Particularly compare the textures and depth of the landscape.

Sets Color-Specific Luminance Levels

A black and white photo of a man walking past a wall of street art while carrying his DSLR camera on one hand

Custom Mix Channels. To effectively draw out tonal contrast, Dark Contrast finely adjusts the luminance in the black and white mix channels. It particularly increases the luminance of green and blue, so that outdoor photos would have brilliant skies and lush greens even in monochrome. Then, to add contrast, the preset decreases the luminance of other colors.

The colorful urban photo above illustrates the luminance adjustments well. Simply examine the corresponding gray tone of each color to see how the preset brightens or darkens at varying levels. Focus your attention on the wall of street art to see how balanced these adjustments are. Compare, for example, the deep orange text against the aqua blue background.

A black and white outdoor portrait of a man standing by a pool

Outdoor Brilliance. As mentioned, Dark Contrast specifically adds some brilliance to blue and green. You can most easily notice this on blue elements like sky and water. In the after photo above, see how the preset processes these areas. Both water and sky seem to glisten because of the added luminance. Even the reflections on the water now look clear and crisp. With such stunning tones, the outdoor portrait now looks much more dramatic and compelling.

Dark Contrast preset is for Lightroom Mobile, Desktop, and…

Like all our presets, you can absolutely use Dark Contrast 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.

If you want more presets like this, check out our collections of Lightroom black and white presets and urban presets.

  • 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
Film Free Lightroom Presets

Free Lightroom Preset by Rachael Towne

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