12 Awesome Black And White Landscape Tutorials

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One of the most iconic forms of art out there is black and white landscape photography. From the delicate interplay of light and shadows to the sweeping epics so often told in their captures, these photographs are often associated with grand sweeping visions. The only problem is that they take way more effort than meets the eye. 

Photo by George Desipris from Pexels.

While some claim that nature or the elements of the photograph themselves do much of the heavy lifting, that’s only because someone who knows what they are doing has drawn your attention to them in a strategic and artistically balanced way. In other words, black and white landscape photography is both an art and a science. 

Like the latter, it is something you can learn or at least improve upon if you have the motivation. We certainly did. That’s why we searched the Internet for some of the best black and white landscape tutorials out there. What we found not only helped us up our game in this niche but also gave us valuable insights into our other work as well. 

We’ve found 12 awesome links to tutorials on black and white landscapes that we think you will love. From those tailored towards beginners to others geared for more seasons photographers, we think all of these articles are a value add wherever you are on your journey with black and white photography.  

Whether you are aspiring to become the next Ansel Adams or you just want to improve your current work, these links should give you a starting point on the path towards improvement. 

Yet we also realize that not everyone is ready to “improve” their black and white landscape photography and, indeed, might just be starting out. For those readers, we have included six courses at the bottom of this article that will help you get started in this awesome segment of the field of photography.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Here are 12 awesome links to some of our favorite tutorials on black and white landscapes out there:  

Cole’s Classroom – Black And White Landscape Photography 101

Cole’s Classroom offers a quick look at the elements of a successful black and white landscape photograph including composition, timing, and even the original colors of the subject material. An awesome page for people who know a bit about photography already, Cole’s Classroom offers a quick rundown of what you need to know about the various elements of a black and white landscape and how to use settings, filters, and the proper equipment to arrive at desired effects. 

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Photography Life – How To Take Better Black And White Landscape Photos

Photography Life’s tutorial begins with an explicit examination of the differences between black and white and color photography as well as how to see in terms of black and white photography. Beyond that, this website offers a list of special considerations to keep in mind with landscape photography in the black and white medium. There is also an in-depth explanation of shadows, light, tones, and evoking emotions with your photograph. This latter aspect is one that isn’t covered as much in some of the other articles though some of the courses we suggest at the end do touch on this important aspect of black and white photos. 

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Creative Raw – Complete Lightroom Workflow For Black And White Landscapes

This guide from Creative Raw helps you use Lightroom to achieve the dynamic effects you want in your black and white landscape photography. In five easy steps, Creative Raw gives you a complete workflow as well as explanations for the reasoning behind each step. Many of the courses at the end of this article delve more deeply into how to use Adobe’s software to get the results you want from a universal view of the field. There is also a course on how to use Nik Efex if you would prefer an alternative to Adobe’s suite of products. 

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Visual Wilderness – Tips And Techniques For Black And White Landscape Photography

A breakdown of the equipment you will need as well as how to conduct preplanning for your session. The author describes the fieldwork he undertakes when composing his shots and what he looks for in a landscape photo. He even goes beyond capturing the photo to describe color correction and balance in the finished product as well as appropriate printing techniques for a black and white landscape. Written by Jack Curren, the author has won multiples awards in black and white photography including “Gold, Silver, and Bronze in the IPA, PX3, Monochrome Awards, ND Awards, MIFA, and TIFA.”

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Digital Photography School – Black And White Landscape Photography In Lightroom

Digital Photography School takes the approach that you have some excellent color photographs that you would like to convert into a black and white format. It shows you how to do this using Adobe Lightroom. This article is ideal for people who fit the aforementioned description as well as smartphone photographers and others working in a purely digital format. If you think you might need a review of the software options out there or how to make better use of Adobe’s products, several of the overview courses at the end of this article give students just that. 

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Digital Photography School – Video Tutorial On Dramatic Black And White Landscape Photos

While the other article from Digital Photography School takes the approach that you have some color photos you want to convert to a black and white landscape, this article approaches the topic from the perspective of composing and planning these kinds of photographs from the very start. As with other articles on this list, this involves the mindset you need as well as the eye for landscape photography and how to use light and shadow to your advantage. There is also some advice on what to do with your photos in terms of post-production. 

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Big Sun Photo Tours – Black And White Landscape Photography

A guide on what to look for in your black and white photographs as well as a detailed consideration of the various elements of the landscape. This includes separation and contrast; skies and structure; color balancing; lighting; and how to use filters. The article concludes with a discussion on how the photographer can make use of Photoshop, Lightroom, OnOne Black & White, and Nik Silver Efex 2 in post. For photographers that need some familiarity with those pieces of software, several of our course suggestions at the end of this article will not only teach you the basics but also give you a command of the software that will help you get the results you want from your black and white photographs.

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Digital Camera World – Lightroom Tutorial 27: How To Create A Black And White Landscape In Lightroom

Digital Camera World provides their own take on how to use Lightroom to get “moody” and “dramatic” black and white landscapes. Tips including how to straighten and crop the shot, adjust dynamic ranges, and using black and white in the HSL panel. Very much geared towards users comfortable with Lightroom, this tutorial is useful for photographers that know their way around the software somewhat.  

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Capture Landscapes – Introduction To Black And White Photography

This article offers tips on how to create “compelling” black and white compositions as well as insights into how to make these kinds of photographs a deliberate artistic choice. Moving away from merely representing what you capture in monochrome, this article talks about the art and ethereal nature of these landscapes and how you can amplify or lessen that effect. This is one of the few articles that talk about these kinds of landscapes as representing an unreality or fantasy world and gives you tips on how to approach them that way. 

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Master Class – Tips For Stunning Black And White Landscape Photography

Featuring classes taught by none other than Annie Leibovitz, Master Class has broken down its tips for black and white photography in general into seven major points ranging from what equipment you need to what kinds of examples are out there to masterworks in the genre such as those by Ansel Adams. When it comes to seven quickfire tips that are sure to give somewhat seasoned and beginner photographers alike some kind of value, this list from Master Class does an exemplary job of hitting the highlights and writing for a range of experience levels. 

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels.

Nature TTL – Photograph Landscapes In Black And White

This guide goes to great lengths to explain what “seeing in black and white” means for a photographer as well as in different types of equipment and mediums. Looking at black and white photography from a technical perspective, this article breaks down the process and tries to highlight what makes this kind of capture different from setup to final production. 

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Expert Photography – Create Stunning Black And White Landscape Photography 

Expert Photography offers up nine quick tips on tackling black and white landscape photography that serves as a great starting point for further exploration. Photographers looking for more thorough advice would do best to look elsewhere but the tips here offer a wealth of information for further research if you are so inclined.

You can read the article in full at this link right here.

Six Paid Courses For Getting Start with Or Improving Your Black and White Photography 

Maybe you’re not as experienced with photography as some others are or you simply want to have a guided experience, whatever the case these classes will help you get the skills you want in a community of learners and experts eager and willing to help each other out. 

These classes cover the basics and then some with one focused on the history of black and white photography and another drilling down on the medium in light of the age of digital photography. Like many of the articles on this list, they also make use of software with a selection from Adobe and Nik Efex.

But, beyond that, some of these classes take a historical view of the field and look at the specific works of the masters and why they’re considered such great examples of the field. Photographers looking for a more in-depth discussion of the reasoning behind the why and how of black and white photography would do well giving the Ansel Adams course a look as well as some of the more technically-oriented courses.

One class even purports to meld the techniques and processes of 20th century masters with the tools of the modern age. The extent to which that course succeeds at doing that is likely in the eye of the beholder but it is a novel concept in instruction nonetheless. Beyond that, many of these courses focus on modern workflows and how photographers can make the best use of the more common tools out there to achieve the end results they want. A historical view is nice, but most of these courses keep it thoroughly modern while largely achieving the same end result. Basically, there’s something here for everyone.

Here are six great black and white photography courses online to help you get the skills you need to become the next master of black and white landscapes: 

The Art Of Black And White Photography

One of the best sellers on Udemy, this course offers 20 lectures for six and half total hours of instruction. 

This course promises to teach you how to create “optimal” black and white images using Photoshop with an eye towards workflows that work as well as tips on how to implement multiple conversion techniques to take your image to the next level. The course also shows you how to look at tonal range and balance to find where edits need to be made. Outside of that, the course delves into the fine details of how you can use Photoshop to do everything from bring out a subject’s eyes to bringing out details in different types of images.

You can check out this course at this link.

Dramatic Black And White Photography In The Digital Age

This course is comprised of 31 lectures and four and a half hours of instruction and focuses on black and white photography through a digital lens. 

Designed to explore the principles and concepts behind black and white conversion, this class will teach you a range of techniques as well as the technical aspects behind each and how they work. You’ll learn how to look at tonal range, make extensive use of the Histogram, and, most of all, about how to utilize the photo editing tool found right in Photoshop called Curves. Beyond the basics, you’ll also learn how to troubleshoot the more common issues you might encounter with black and white photographs including a flat look, washed out skies, shadows blocking out vital details, low contrast, and much more. Towards this end, students will get insights into how to make their adjustments “seamless” and natural using masking. There is also a discussion on how to follow your intuition when editing black and white images and what that means in terms of this medium. 

You can check out this course at this link.

Learn Black And White Photograph Retouching In Photoshop

A course focused on using Photoshop for retouching your black and white photographs, this class has 36 lectures for four total hours of instruction.

This class is targeted towards people who are new to Photoshop as well as those that know what they are doing. Unlike others, this one assumes very little familiarity with the product and starts from that premise. In “Learn Black and White Photograph Retouching in Photoshop,” you will learn the basics as well as more advanced techniques used in this niche in Adobe’s premier software. This includes cleaning up your images non-destrutively, learning retouching techniques like dodge and burn, using masks, creating luminosity masks and how to implement them, and more. There is also a discussion on how light works in an image and how you can work with the light in the image for various effects. Towards this end, a discussion of contrast adjustment on a “Pro” level is offered as well as a general overview of the components of an “outstanding” black and white image and the workflow process for retouching these photographs. 

You can check out this course at this link.

Photo by João Cabral from Pexels.

Become A Master Of Black And White Photography

A class of thirty lectures and three and half total hours of instruction. 

Many of the suggestions on this list focus on using software either to convert images to the black and white format or to edit them effectively. This class looks at the niche from a macro view with a focus on what makes black and white photographs stunning pieces of art in a general sense. You will learn professional editing techniques that will give you the ability to produce your own pictures. Interestingly, the course promises that learners will “enjoy a creative process similar to 20th century masters using modern techniques.” One component of this course that isn’t present on some of the other options is that this class gives you some advice on how to print your black and white photographs and what services are the best to use for that.

You can check out this course at this link.

The Art Of Black And White Photography: Yesterday And Today

Nine lectures show you the art and history of black and white photography from the beginning of the medium to the present period. 

Another course that takes a historical perspective to the field of black and white photography, this class wants learners to develop a better understanding of the techniques historically used in the medium with a particular look at master Ansel Adams. There will be a discussion of Ansel Adams’ methodology and the vaunted “Zone System” employed by the photographer to help achieve some of the amazing results produced under that name. Best suited to photographers that have familiarity with black and white photography as well as a general comfort with the art in a broad sense, this class is a great examination of the foundational principles and methods used to produce some of the world’s most-stunning photographs.

You can check out this course at this link.

Create Stunning Black And White Images with Nik Silver Efex

These 15 lectures are all focused on converting color images to black and white easily and effectively. 

As the name of this course implies, students will learn how to create black and whtie images using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Because of this, the software is a prerequisite for the course and some familiarity with it is probably recommended. You will learn how to make use of black and white presets as well as the many Nik plugins available. An excellent choice for artists that want an alternative to photoshop, this class will give you a beyond ground level understanding of how Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 can help you produce stunning black and white photographs.

You can check out this course at this link.

Further Reading:

What We Recommend for Landscape Photography

Want to really hone down your landscape photography skills? Then these are the premium resources that will take you there if you put in the work to follow them.

  1. landscape photography icon  Landscape Photography Guide – This is a detailed guide by Kent Dufault that will give you all of the basics of shooting landscapes. It covers setup, basic composition, lighting and gear. This is a great all-rounder guide.
  2. photography icon  The Landscape Magic Lightroom Toolkit – When you are ready to start post-production on your landscape photos, then this toolkit gives your specially developed Lightroom presets, brushes and filters that will make them pop. It also comes with a shooting guide and several landscape photo “recipes” so you can follow along.
  3. abstract photography icon  Advanced Composition – The fact is that a great landscape requires great composition. If you want to take your landscape shots well beyond the rule of thirds, then this is the guide you will want to take very seriously.

About Author

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

Great article! I love that black and white photography as never lost is magic nor its aesthetic, intellectual, and emotional appeal to viewers. I’ve been making black and white photos a lot more lately, I recently made some black and white cityscape photos of Chicago here:https://matthewtrader.com/the-last-two-days-of-2020-in-chicago. I will definitely be checking out those links to learn more about how to improve my black and white photography.

Thanks Matthew – be sure to let us know what you think of those courses and thank you for sharing your work!

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