3 Quick Steps to Add Dreams to Your B&W Photos

In this article I´d like to show you how you can very easily create dreamy, black and white photo with using of Motion Blur Photoshop filter. Let´s get started!

Before and After
Let´s take a look at what you will create in this tutorial. Basically you´ll use only three tools to get the following effect:
  1. Motion Blur filter,
  2. Black and White adjustment layer,
  3. Color Balance adjustment layer.
You can see more photos from this photoshoot in the article "Photoshoot With The Biggest Softbox in the World".

Resource Photo
Below you can download resource photo. Use this photo only for completing the tutorial please and don´t upload it anywhere. But feel free to use this effect on your own photos!

Photo was taken during a cloudy day which creates beautiful, soft transition between lights and shadows.

Technical data:
Exposure time: 1/100 s
F-Number: 1.8
ISO speed: 200

Post Production
As I said at the beginning of this article the post processing is quite simple and can be devided into three main steps.

1. Motion Blur
First of all you´ll add the Motion Blur which has the biggest impact on creating the dreamy atmosphere in this example.

Press Ctrl + A to select the whole picture, Ctrl + C to copy it and Ctrl + V to paste it.
Now go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and set the window similarly as on the following picture.

The angle set on 60° isn´t random. I wanted to the lines direct to the women´s face - the focal point of the image.

The whole picture is blurred but it looks weird. On the preview picture there is blur only over the background and edges of the clothing.

To hide unwanted blur add layer mask to the blurred layer. Grab the Brush Tool (B), select soft round brush and pick black color. Paint over the areas you want to be hidden - especially face and inner part of the body.

You should get something similar to the picture below.

2. Conversion to black and white
Another thing which needs to be done is to convert image into black and white tones. To do that add new adjustment layer Black&White and set it as on the following picture.

As you can see I set the Reds and Yellows are lighter which causes that the skin becomes beautifuly pale.

Note: If you use older version of Photoshop the adjustment Black&White may not be there. For conversion you can use e.g. Chanels and check the option Monochromatic in the bottom part of the adjustment window.

If you look how your picture looks so far you can see that the camera and part of the sweater is too dark and it looks unbalanced. It  looks better if it´s lighter.

To lighten it add new layer on the top of all layers. Grab the Brush Tool (B), select some soft round brush and lower the Opacity on about 30%. Hold Alt on your keyboard to activate the Eyedropper Tool and pick some light grey color from the picture.

Paint over the dark area. After this step your image should look like the one shown below.

3. Sepia tones
Last thing to get the look from preview is to add sepia tones. It´s very easy - you can do it by adding adjustment layer Color Balance on the top of all layers and setting it similarly as on the following picture.

Final Image

Thank you very much for reading! Hope that the article was interesting for you and would love to see your comments or your results!

Have an amazing Monday
- Jarka