Lightroom Presets

Presets – Better Black and Whites

Hey there. I’m back for another preset day. I wanted to share some new black and white ideas I’ve been working on in Lightroom. As you can imagine, there’s a few different ways to do black and whites (remember, they’re NOT called grayscale photos) in Lightroom. But, I’ve been honing in on what I think is the best since some methods tend to deteriorate the photo too much (or produce too much noise). This week, I’m releasing some that I’ve created recently that are specifically for landscape photos. They’ve been very dramatic for the photos I’ve run them on and I think they really give that high-contrast Black and white look to a photo. There’s a preset for some general landscape scenes but, of course, feel free to try them on anything, as each photo is different and may respond to my settings in a different way then I intended. I hope you enjoy and please let me know what you think of them in the comments. Have a great day!

• See the Before/After view of the presets here
• Download the presets here.
• Click here to see a video on how to install presets .



  1. M Youmans 10 January, 2010 at 22:46 Reply

    Why are all photos saved in Adobe Photoshop so dark they can hardly be seen? All backgound around photos is black.

  2. Kelley Loredo 29 November, 2009 at 19:28 Reply

    I copied the templates into the local folder, but I don’t know how to apply them. The page with the video on how to install them is blank – no video. Can you help? Thanks!

  3. Rachel Schneiderman 28 April, 2009 at 16:42 Reply

    Hi Matt:
    Your black and white landscape preset is great. My question is should I print this (from Lightroom) as a black and white or as a colour image and what if I give it some slight split toning….. do I print this using the colour settings or the black and white settings? (using the Epson R2880)

  4. Chris P 27 April, 2009 at 15:24 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    I’m getting some big pixel blocks, almost like I’m zoomed at 300% (mostly in the skies) when I apply these.
    Any reason for this?

  5. Rogier Bos 27 April, 2009 at 12:48 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Love this site and your tips. As an avid LR user I visit here often.

    Three questions:
    -By now there are so many presents: it really deserves to be ordered somehow. I.e. B/W should get its own category.
    – Secondly, I love the ‘Direct Positive’ preset that came with LR and would appreciate seeing some discussion on it. Is this look still fashionable? What are alternatives to this look in the same vein? What are drawbacks on this preset?
    – I’d love to see one or more ‘Jessica Strickland’ imitation presets. Are you familiar with her stuff? (

    Thanks from Rotterdam, The Netherlands,

  6. John T. 22 April, 2009 at 13:40 Reply

    Ian, that’s probably why Matt specified that he developed them for landscape images, which are normally shot at a low ISO setting with camera mounted on a tripod.

    Thanks, Matt!

  7. Carolyn Fahm 22 April, 2009 at 10:55 Reply

    I love the black sky in these presets. I have been using a similar one and got great comments at my Photoshop World portfolio review. While I am sure you have more presets than I do, I am rapidly acquiring lots of them from you and from myself. I have taken your advice and organized them into folders so I don’t have to scroll through them all when I am looking for something specific, like optimization, special effects or black and white conversion.

    A quick question in follow up to the comment about a cyan cast in the final print. There is no soft proofing capability in Lightroom – or is there? I took the Epson Print Academy and concluded that a totally Lightroom workflow is only possible for electronic output from the slideshow or web modules. I hadn’t been soft proofing and quickly came to understand why my Mpix prints were so much darker than I intended once I saw them as rendered by Mpix’s paper profile with the “simulate paper” option selected. How do you handle this when printing from Lightoom? Is a round trip from Lightroom to Photoshop back to Lightroom the best way to ensure maximum print quality?

  8. Ian Worthington 22 April, 2009 at 09:00 Reply

    There’s something about these (luminance boost maybe?) that really brings out the sensor noise in anything shot at high ISO.

    So I’ll pass on these I think, but many thanks for all the others you’ve put out: they’re a great help in visualising options.

  9. mattk 21 April, 2009 at 09:42 Reply

    Hi Marc,
    Try testing it out to see what your results are. Convert a raw file to jpeg and see what they look like. Presets should generally look the same for JPEG and Raw though.

    Matt K

  10. Mark 21 April, 2009 at 09:23 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Nice shot of Delicate Arch!
    I loved Arches National Park when I was there. It is totally otherwordly beautiful! I hope one day I can attend one of your sessions out there.
    Let’s see some more photos please!

  11. Nick 21 April, 2009 at 09:20 Reply


    Just wondering if you’ve considered putting all your presets so far into a big archive to download at once for those that won’t that.

    I had previously downloaded most of your presets but for some reason they seem to have vanished following the recent LR upgrade.

    I (and I’m sure others) would appreciate a handy-dandy way to quickly download the presets in one go rather than hunting out each post and downloading one by one.


  12. Ron 21 April, 2009 at 01:47 Reply

    very nice!

    i have a question Matt about making BW in lightroom.

    When I do it in PS i have a color Adjust I do that takes the cyan shift that usually happens when printing RGB at a photo lab.
    If I do the BW in LR with say your presets, do they still print with the cyan shift? And do you have that problem with your BW images sent to a different lab than MPIX, since they do a true BW print?


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