Lightroom Presets Available – Black & White Filters

I specialize in black and white photography and the corresponding workflow in Adobe Lightroom and other products. However, color digital photography may eventually takeover film, so I have created a set of Lightroom Development Presets that emulate existing popular black and white filters.

You can download the presets in this post. I also explain how we created them.First, you can dowload the Black & White Filter Develop Presets here. If you’d like to see the basis for them, read on.

Chris Brandon, a member of the Lightroom Forums, created a post on Lightroom Spectral Values. He estimated the wavelength of each of the color sliders in the Lightroom Development module. Here is the list he came up with.

Red – 700
Orange – 590
Yellow – 578
Green – 560
Aqua – 500
Blue – 480

While we will not go into the physics of light for this post and while these are estimates, we use this information to help us determine what sliders to change and by how much to create a preset the is similar to a black and white filter.

Molecular Expressions wrote an article on Koak Wratten Filters for Black & White Photomicrography. It turns out that these filters use the same numbers and have the same wavelength transmissions whether it is for photomicrography or traditional photography. Light characteristics and film characteristics remain the same.

We used the information in their article, coupled with Chris’ work to create the presets you can download above. We made some assumptions to help us estimate the amount of slider to adjust for light transmission.

We assumed that the peak wavelength transmission for a filter was around +75 on the slider. We further assumed that the transmission of a filter was a curve, albeit a steep curve and used values around +20 to +40 at the edges of the transmission range. Finally, we took wavelengths that were furthest from the transmission range and reduced the amount of development in the -20 to -40 range. For some filters, most notably the ‘Deep’ color filters, we used reductions in light transmission as high as -70.

While this isn’t scientifically accurate, it is certainly aesthetically accurate. We tested the filters on a variety of color images and the ranges and changes appear to be inline with our black and white film experience.

Just as some filters are very strong in contrast and light transmission which produces an undesirable negative, there will be some of the stronger filters which are not meant for most Lightroom situations. However, we included them to be complete.

I hope you enjoy these presets!


  1. excellent work. i can see these coming in very handy.

  2. Thanks alot.
    I was looking for a preset red filter for Lightroom to use in portrait shoots and I not only found the red filter, but also the ‘traditional’ landscape filters for B&W.
    Great work!

  3. Thank you for this great presets. I’ve used them in my experiments with a sunrise picture conversion to black and white.

  4. Great sunrise photo! Thanks for the comment. (My favorite is the darker foreground).

  5. Just what I was looking for – many thanks, with these filters, B&W conversion is one more thing I don’t need to do in Photoshop any more!

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