Lightroom Presets – Black and White Tonal Contrast Effect

In Lightroom by Matt K8 Comments

A while back I released some presets that simulated one of my favorite effects in Photoshop plug-ins – the Tonal Contrast effect. onOne Software’s Perfect Effects has it, and Nik has it as well. But I know that lots of people still don’t use 3rd party plug-ins, so I set out to recreate the effect in Lightroom. Well, as with many of the presets, I find that sometimes a black and white version always works out well too. So that’s what I have for you today. Black and White Tonal Contrast presets. There’s actually 3 of them (Light, Medium, Strong) for various levels of the effect.

Also, don’t forget that there’s definitely something in the “special sauce” that the plug-in companies use. So if you have the plug-ins (or are thinking of getting one), I’d still use them. Given the choice, I’d use the Perfect Effects Tonal Contrast effect before I’d ever use the one that I have here. But for those that don’t, this is a great alternative to help get that gritty/edgy/contrasty look right in Lightroom.

NOTE: I’m going to put my usual HDR disclaimer here too, because I find that tonal contrast effects have a similar HDR-ish feel to them. So, here goes: If HDR (or tonal contrast) is the kind of thing that incites anger and criticism from you, then these presets aren’t for you. Don’t download, don’t try them out and don’t leave a negative comment on how HDR (or tonal contrast) is bastardizing photography and how everyone that uses it is a horrible person 😉

Here’s a quick sample.

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Hope you enjoy. Have a good one!


  1. Steve Rich

    Thanks Matt, since watching one of your videos on OnOne’s Perfect Effects 4, Tonal Contrast is my first preset used for most of my images.

  2. Pingback: 40 Best Lightroom Presets for Professional Photographers

  3. Gunter Pringi

    Hi Matt
    can you tell me how i can change the strength/colour on your presets pleaaaase…
    tks Gunti

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hi. You’d have to poke around in the “Basic” panel and adjust the sliders. It’s going to be different on all of the presets because they all have a different recipe in them.

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