Welcome to my first Blog post. My intention for the Blog is to share some useful photography information every once in a while. Whether it is tips, an article, useful link, camera gear, lighting- essentially all sorts of stuff related to photography.
Today's photography tip concerns B&W photo editing (or post processing), along with some examples. I use Adobe Lightroom for most photo editing and post processing, and these tips and screen shots are using Adobe Lightroom.
However, the general idea behind the B/W conversion will apply to most photo editing software such as Photoshop, Gimp (free), Corel, Microsoft, and many others. Gimp is a great tool for beginners that you can download from their website at www.gimp.org. Oh yeah, and did I mention it is free!!
So let’s begin. In the first example below I have taken a color image and simply clicked on the “Black and White” button in Adobe Lightroom, which provides the DEFAULT B/W conversion. Other programs you might have to go to the menu and select Black and White, monochrome, etc..
So, not too bad looking right? Well if you take a closer look, you can see the skin tone is a muted grey. I don’t particularly care for that and it is what you would get by going to a chain photo studio where you can get photos done and walk out with a hundred prints in about an hour…
But we want our images to look amazing, not sub-par! So, since we are using post processing software, we can definitely do that with these very simple things to remember.
First- think BLACK and WHITE!! By that I mean during the enhancement process. In Adobe Lightroom you can use “sliders” to make adjustments. Two of those sliders are- Whites and Blacks (see the red circle)…
So let’s begin by making some slight adjustments.
By sliding the slider you will want to bump up the Whites to a higher (+) level. For Blacks you will want to slide it to a (-) lower level. You should automatically begin to see a very big difference. Play around with the settings, sliding them back and forth until the image looks to your content.
So for my example here, you can see that I bumped up the Whites to +95, and lowered the Blacks to -80.
And VOILA! By changing those two simple settings we have the enhanced the image greatly and got rid of that mucky grey skin tone which makes a major difference when ordering prints. By adjusting only those 2 settings makes a much improved difference in the image (see below).
So that was the basic lesson for today- when converting and enhancing B/W images just remember to begin editing with Whites and Blacks, or the equivalent in whichever software you use. You can of course continue adjusting the other items such as Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, etc… to edit the image to your satisfaction and really make the image POP!
Here is the final image after tweaking some of those additional settings. I lightened the shadows a bit which enabled me to bring out some of the detail in the black flower/hair bow, but there’s not too much difference from just adjusting the Whites and Blacks….
Thanks and I hope this helped a little with post processing B/W images for you. Of course everyone has their own preference, so just explore and play around with the settings until you like the output.
Please stay tuned for more photography tips, how to’s, behind the scenes, and a whole bunch of other stuff to come.
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