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How to make a photo black and white on Windows 10

Instagram has made it pretty clear that a photo doesn’t have to be in its original color to look good. The app’s concept of filters has now become a feature on many stock camera apps on Android phones. 

Users have the option to take a photo in color, or in black and white. Of course, most of us will always take photos in color and that’s the sensible thing to do. A colored photo can be made black and white easily but coloring a black and white photo is much harder and will require special photo editing apps to do the job.

Make photo black and white

Making a photo black and white is simple and you don’t need advanced editing apps. The stock Photos app has filters that will turn a photo black and white. If you do not like the stock Photos app on Windows 10, there are other free alternatives that we will suggest as well. This is what we’re starting with (image open in the Photos app).

1. Photos app on Windows 10

The Photos app on Windows 10 has a filter called Vanilla that gives a fairly decent high-quality black and white photo. More importantly, the Photos app lets users choose how ‘intensely’ a filter is applied.

  1. Open the photo in the Photos app.
  2. At the top, click Edit & Create.
  3. Select Edit from the menu.
  4. Select Effects.
  5. Select the Vanilla effect.
  6. Use the slider at the top to change the intensity of the filter.
  7. Save the image as a copy.

2. IrfanView on Windows 10

IrfanView is a personal favorite; it’s light and feature-rich.

  1. Download and install IrfanView.
  2. Open the image in IrfanView.
  3. Tap the Ctrl+G keyboard shortcut to make the photo black and white.
  4. Save the image with the Ctrl+S (this will overwrite the original photo).

3. Any app with Saturation controls

You can use any app that allows you to change the saturation of a photo. Try out the Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

  1. Open the photo in Picture Manager.
  2. Click Edit Picture at the top.
  3. In the panel that opens on the right, click Color.
  4. Reduce the saturation to zero.
  5. Save the change to the image or save a copy.


When editing the photo, it’s a good idea to always save the edited image as a copy. If you overwrite the original photo, you won’t be able to undo the change and coloring photos isn’t as easy as removing the color. The after shots for each of the three apps shows there is a difference in how a photo looks when it’s been made black and white so you can expect varying results based on the app you use.

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