If you want to create a black & white effect with the appearance of age this tutorial will show you exactly how to do it quite easily. If you like this effect you can download it as a free preset from PhotographyPla.net. They also have a full set of 20 Vintage Mono Lightroom Presets if you want even more options.
For the tutorial we will be working with the photo below, which you can download for free from Pixabay.
After the steps in the tutorial the photo will look like this:
Step 1: The “Basic” Settings
In Lightroom’s Develop Module find the Basic section. First, click on “black & white” and then adjust the settings as follows:
- Exposure: +0.36
- Contrast: +50
- Highlights: -12
- Shadows: +15
- Whites: +10
- Blacks: -20
- Clarity: +20
By increasing the exposure we’ll lighten the photo a little. Black & white conversions tend to get a little too dark, especially when printed, so increasing the exposure can help to avoid that situation. The significant boost in contrast will help to achieve the bold look that we’re after.
Step 2: The Tone Curve
The tone curve is a big part of this effect. Apply a curve that looks similar to the one below to give the photo a matte effect.
Step 3: Split Toning
We want to give this photo a sepia tint to add to the aged feel, so use these settings for split toning:
- Highlights hue: 40
- Highlights saturation: 20
- Shadows hue: 40
- Shadows saturation: 25
Step 4: Sharpening
We’ll add a little bit of sharpening with these settings:
- Amount: 50
- Radius: 1.5
- Detail: 40
- Masking: 50
Step 5: The Vignette
We’ll add a subtle vignette in the “Effects” section of the Develop Module. Change the amount slider to -20.
And that’s it! Here is our finished photo: