How To Take Black And White Photos With The Canon Rebel T2i

It’s always interesting to look at the Google Analytics data for this website, seeing how many visitors the site is getting, which websites they are coming from, whether this is their first visit or if they’re a regular – that kind of thing.

But what I haven’t been paying too much attention to – until now – is looking at what keyphrases people are putting into Google to find my site. It’s amazing the variety of words and phrases people use when searching for information about photography – in January 2010 there were 2,409 different keyphrases entered into Google, that resulted in people finding this site.

Black and white Canon T2i portrait

It's really easy to take black and white shots like this one of my wife

So, I’m going to start looking at these keyphrases more and more, as it will help me to see just what kind of information people are looking for. One of the most common keyphrases people have used is “how to take black and white photos with canon rebel t2i”, so I thought I’d address that issue here. (By the way, Google was pointing people towards my 15 Great Photos Shot With A Canon Rebel T2i / 550D (And How They Were Taken) feature, but that didn’t really explain in detail how to take black and white shots, so I will explain below).


It’s very important to let you know that, although you can take black and white photos with your T2i / 550D right away, without having to do any post-processing in software like Photoshop, if you shoot this way, then you will never be able to regain the colour from those shots.

So, although I’ll let you know how to take black and white photos ‘in-camera’, my advice would be to take a photo as normal, and then make it black and white in post-processing – that way you always have the option of going back to the original shot’s colour if the black and white version doesn’t look too good.

But, if you’re intent on wanting a b&w photo straight away, then simply:

* Press the Picture Style Buttton button, which is the ‘down arrow’ button on the back of the T2i / 550D

picture styles back t2i
* You’ll see the above shot  – just navigate to the ‘M’ setting (for Monochrome)
* Press the <SET> button
* And you’re away! How easy was that? Though, as I mentioned before, I really do recommend not shoorting in this mode, as you can easily turn things into black and white in post-processing anyway, without discarding the colour info forever.

If you found this small guide handy, then you may be interested in our T2i Digital Field Guide review, which is a great book for learning all about the T2i.


  1. gary /

    Soo mutch help thank you,you made it easy

  2. Glad to be of help, Gary!

  3. Kiarash /

    really thanks for your nelp
    It was help full

  4. Pauline Oyco /

    thank you sooooo much for this!!! greetings from the philippines!

  5. Hey Alan,

    I found a site that shows some of the brilliant Black n White shots. I hope you and your readers will find it helpful :

    PS ~ Your site’s so helpful for a beginner like me. Keep up the good work !!

  6. Thanks, Ankur – great link :)

  7. No problem, Pauline, thanks for your comment!

  8. (Totally not accusing you of anything, I’m just frustrated.) This did NOT work for me. I’ve played around with the mono setting, and here’s what happens: I take a shot in mono (.RAW format), the preview is (obviously) in mono. I download the image to my computer, and my preview software shows me a mono photo. But then when I open the RAW in the appropriate software, it’s in colour, and the colour appears washed out rather than the great mono contrast I took time to set up. What the deuce?! Now I not only have to convert back to black and white, but I also have to basically recreate the great shot I took in the first place! I know the previews are often nicer looking than the unprocessed RAWs, but this is ridiculous. I want to practice taking good photos, not fixing up under/overexposed shots in hours of post processing. Is it because I’m shooting RAW? Would I need to downgrade my image quality from RAW to JPEG to take a shot that’s ACTUALLY in black and white? (I can’t test this out right now is why I’m asking you, lol.)

  9. Oh! I have a T3i, by the way. Not that I think it will make a world of difference, but just in case.

  10. Hi Bear, sorry this was so frustrating! You’re correct in your summise of why it happened, though – it is because you shot in RAW. When shooting in RAW your camera is not doing anything at all to process the image; it just captures all the light detail ‘as is’ – so that means, in this case, it was recording all the colour detail. You do need to shoot in jpg for the in-camera technique to work. But, as I mentioned in my small guide, it is better to capture in colour anyway, and then process into black and white, as then you’ll always have the option of both colour and your processed black and white version.

  11. DFW Chick /

    Hello, when I held the button down to change to BW format, a message on my screen that read “this function is not selectable in the shooting mode” came up. I tried every shooting mode on the setting, portrait, landscape, etc and still kept receiving the same message. What should I do please? Thank you.

  12. DFW Chick /

    I figured out how to do it and it worked. Thanks!

  13. Leanne /

    DFW chick I just bought one and getting the same message, how did u get it to work. Thanks

  14. You are correct. I have been looking on the internet for the past hour for an answer and I finally found yours. Thank you. It was very clear and exact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *