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Creating a dramatic black and white landscape

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There are several ways you can use post-processing techniques to create dramatic black and white landscapes. Here’s what I did.

Here is the original image, which isn’t a bad image to use to create a dramatic black and white landscape.

How I created the dramatic end result

First, I’m a Lightroom user, it’s where I start and where I organize my images. So, before I did anything else I just did a quick profile correction in Lightroom.

Then I took it into LuminarAI by selecting Photo > Edit > LuminarAI.

Once I was in LuminarAI I clicked on Edit, then opened up the CompositionAI tool. Here, I did a little straightening with the vertical and horizontal buttons. Once I was happy with that I clicked on the CompositionAI button so it saved my changes.

Next, I opened up the Black & White tool and clicked on the Convert to B&W button.


From there I started adjusting the Luminance sliders and ended up with the following:

  • Red: -84
  • Yellow: -42
  • Green: -17
  • Cyan: -51
  • Blue: -63
  • Magenta: -7

Since I was going for a dramatic look, I wanted to bring down the luminance overall.

Next, I went to the Landscape tool and adjusted Dehaze to +13 and Golden Hour to +51. After that, I opened up the Details tool and increased the medium details to +21.

I also added a -48 vignette from the Vignette tool.


On to the Light tool to increase highlights to +25, in order to get a bit more whiteness to the snow and clouds.

I wasn’t quite happy with the vertical/horizontal that LuminarAI gave me, so I took it back into Lightroom Classic and hit the Auto Transform button. I’m still learning LuminarAI and I’m sure I could have figured out a way to get it where I wanted there as well.

One final tweak back in LuminarAI to decrease the shadows to -63 just so it would be a little bit more dramatic.


Another option to create a similar look

Here is another quick and easy way to get a dramatic result in LuminarAI. After straightening the image I went back into LuminarAI with the Photo > Edit in > LuminarAI command. Then I went to the Templates area. I tried a few of them and ended up using the Dreamscape Noir template from the Natural Skies collection. Here is that result.


One more try

This time I took the image into LuminarAI and used the AccentAI function and cranked that up to +100. Then I converted it to black and white using the Black & White tool. I increased the structure to +48 under the Structure tool.

Feeling like the sky could use still a bit more drama, I went back to the AccentAI tool and used the Sky EnhancerAI slider and increased that to +31. Just a couple more tweaks to get closer to what my original edit from Lightroom Classic looked like. In the Light tool, I decreased my blacks to -17 and increased the whites to +32. This was my favorite of the three edits.


Using LuminarAI is pretty easy with AI buttons that can do some of the work for you. In the end, to get the image closer to what I wanted I had to go a bit beyond just the AI to make adjustments in the areas I felt needed to create a more dramatic look.

Remember, there are so many ways to create different looks when editing an image. Keep playing, keep moving sliders and seeing what happens. Take them to +/- 100 just to see what effect a particular slider has on your image, then dial it back until you get what you want.

If you’d like to see how to create other looks and learn more about Luminar AI just out these articles.

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Lauri Novak

Lauri Novak

Lauri Novak is an award-winning fine art photographer, mentor and author based outside of Chicago. She has an eye for photographing architecture, traveling as much as possible and just wandering in nature with her camera.

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