In this tutorial we have a journalistic shot of a factory worker in Canton, China. We want to make this shot a high contrast, grungy, black and white image. In just a few clicks we’re going to go from a flat colored photo to a dynamic black and white image using the Lightroom Presets v5.

[Note: In the new Lightroom Presets v5, we have revamped all of the presets to improve image tonality and quality, allowing you to achieve even more amazing results. We’ve also added 95 new presets to reach a total of 311 presets in what is the gold standard of Lightroom image processing. In this series we’ll be going over how to use the new v5 presets to create great looking photos. Click Here to learn more or purchase the system.]

With each of our Ordinary to Extraordinary Edits, we’re going to first be going through how we create our effects with the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets v5, then we’ll be going through the details in the develop settings so everyone can understand exactly how we get to a specific look. This way, whether you have the presets or not, everyone can benefit from watching this video or reading the article below.

Lightroom Presets v5 Mixology Recipe

For those who have the Preset System, you can follow the Mixology Recipe below to get to the same results. If you don’t have the Preset System, please continue to watch the full video tutorial, or read the written article below.

My Mixology

  • 01-30 BASE – VIVID: 34b. HDR Heavy – BBW
  • 03-30 ADJUST – CONTRAST: 39. Contrast Boost – Max
  • 03-20 ADJUST – DETAIL SKIN: 25. Detail Boost – Medium
  • 04-10 SFX – FILM & LENS: 11b. Light Film Grain

Local Area Adjustments

  • Graduated Filter: 03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stops

Watch The Lightroom Video Tutorial

Read The Complete Written Tutorial

We start off by cycling through the vivid black and white HDR presets to see which one works best for this image. The “01-30 BASE – VIVID: 34b. HDR Heavy – BBW” preset gives us an overall dark image while maintaining the details in the Shadows and Blacks and really works well with this particular image.



After our BASE preset we’re going to increase the Contrast and Details using two presets.

  • 03-30 ADJUST – CONTRAST: 39. Contrast Boost – Max
  • 03-20 ADJUST – DETAIL SKIN: 25. Detail Boost – Medium

A contrast and detail boost is going to add a lot of great tone and texture to this image.


To give this edit a more “nighttime” tone, we’re adding some Graduated Filters with the “03 Burn (Darken) -.5 Stops” preset. The first Graduated Filter is put just over the lights on top to darken everything that’s not below the lights.


The second Graduated Filter is put over the windows on the left side of the frame to darken everything that’s not in the “working area”. Then we adjust the Exposure to -1.03 to give us the illusion that everything is dark around the our subject.


The last Graduated Filter is being pulled in vertically from the right side of the frame. We start with the “03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stops” preset and adjust the Exposure to -1.10.


This is more of a journalistic grungy image so to add to this look we’re going to add some grain using the “04-10 SFX – FILM & LENS: 11b. Light Film Grain” preset. Now we have a great high contrast black and white image.

Lets look at our Develop Settings to see how we got this image. We have our Contrast at +100 and that’s to offset the drop in Highlights and Whites and the boost in the Shadows and Blacks. The Tone Curve is a slight “S” shape to give us a nice subtle boost in Contrast. In the Sharpening settings we have our standard amount applied to this image. This edit doesn’t have any Noise Reduction applied because we added a film grain effect.


And here’s what our image looks like before and after our presets and local area adjustments are applied.






Conclusion and Learn More

We hope you all enjoyed this tutorial. If you are interested in learning more or purchasing the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets v5, please click any of the links in this article. Also, remember that the SLR Lounge Lightroom Workshop Collection not only includes the Preset System, but also full A to Z instruction on mastering Lightroom Image Processing, Organization and Workflow.

Stay tuned for more SLR Lounge Weekly Edits!