"Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still." Dorothea Lange

Monday, October 11, 2010

B&W Conversions

B&W is a lovely and classic way to make your photos feel timeless. But turning pictures B&W can also be a quick way to kill a picture stone dead. So here is a quick tutorial for how to do B&W conversions that make a statement instead of fading into the background.

Here is the original.
Here it is when all I do is make it a grayscale (the term in most editing software) or just activate the B&W feature in iphoto. Don't know what you think, but I am not feeling it. The contrast provided by the  variety of tones in the color rendition keep it alive, but swap out those hues for grays and it can't survive.
A simple way that you can use with most editing software is to use the raw editor. Go to file and select the image you want. Then go down to format and choose camera raw. Take the saturation all the way to the left. Take the clarity all the way to the right, this will make the midtones snap. Then adjust the exposure and blacks to your taste. Here is what I came up with.
I was left with nothing but iphoto for a month and had to make a few B&W images. This is what I came up with. Turn the B&W on. Then open levels. Slide the right marker to the left and the middle marker to the left. Then slide the left marker slightly to the right. Then play with the exposure. Here is my result.
With CS5 I use a combination of Hue/Saturation, Curves, and Brightness/Contrast. First take the saturation all the way to the left. Then I go into Curves and pull the upper right line up. Then I pull the lower left side down just a hair. Lastly I open up the Brightness/Contrast and lighten it a bit then take the Contrast bar slightly to the left to get some more snap. This is by far my favorite technique. You just have so much control.

Hope this helps you with your own images! Being my first tutorial I hope it makes sense!!!

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