I like to using toning effects in black and white photography because they can often give images more depth and mood. So to speed this up, not just for me but for anyone else who works in black and white in Lightroom, I’ve created this set of 16 free Lightroom presets you can download via the link below.
How to download and install these free Lightroom presets
- Click the Download button above. This will download a small zip file containing all the presets. This should expand automatically into a folder full of presets, but if not just double-click it.
- Lightroom Classic [Method 1]. Switch to the Develop module and in the Presets panel click the ‘+’ button at the top and choose ‘Import Presets’. Locate and open the folder of presets and select them all (you can’t just import the folder). They will appear in your User Presets. To put them in another folder of their own, right-click any preset and choose ‘Move’. You can now create a new presets folders. You will have to do this individually for all the presets.
- Lightroom Classic [Method 2]. This is quicker and simpler. Right-click any existing user preset to find its location on your computer. This is just a quick way to find where Lightroom stores its user presets. Now drag the downloaded folder into this location. Quit and restart Lightroom. You should now find that the folder of presets has been added.
- Lightroom CC. Double-click an image to edit it, select the Presets tab at the top of the right sidebar and click the three-dot menu to choose Import Presets. Navigate to the downloaded presets folder and select the whole folder. The new presets should now appear in their own folder in the ‘Yours’ tab in the Presets panel.
How these toning effects work
- They switch to the B&W mode in the Basic panel. This means any color images you use these presets on will be converted to black and white automatically.
- They us the Color Grading panel to apply a toning color to the shadows and midtones.
- They come in regular and ‘+’ versions. The ‘+’ version has a stronger toning saturation and darker shadows and midtones for increased contrast.
Color Grading toning tips
Lightroom’s Color Grading panel is designed principally for color images and replaces the old Split Toning panel, which was more useful for black and white. The Color Grading panel splits the image into shadows, midtones and highlights with separate color controls for each.
I think black and white toning looks best when it’s applied mainly to the shadows, a little less to the midtones and not at all to the highlights. I think this gives a cleaner, brighter rendering than a crude single color ‘wash’ over the whole image.
This is how these free toning presets have been set up, with an additional luminance reduction in the shadows and in the midtones to produce more visual depth.
I hope you find them useful!
And if you’re interested in using Lightroom for black and white, check out the choice of Lightroom plans below.
Adobe Photography Plans
• Adobe Photography Plan: $9.99/month
• Adobe Photography Plan (1TB): $19.99/month
Lightroom Plan (1TB): $9.99/month
A trial version lasting just a few days is available