Musings on Photography

Black and White, contd.

Posted in Adobe Lightroom, process by Paul Butzi on March 7, 2008

Many thanks to all those who offered advice on B&W conversions.

Some notes:

I don’t use Lightroom. I’m unlikely to start using Lightroom, for a host of reasons which I’ve already articulated.

I like the B&W conversion layer approach. Even better, I like the idea of adding a whole bunch of B&W conversion layers to the image, and then editing the masks to get one conversion in one area and a different one in a different area. It’s like making VC prints and adjusting the contrast all over the print, something I did a lot in the wet darkroom.

Going back to editing images as B&W after a long period doing nothing but color is an illuminating experience. We do not ‘read’ images in B&W in even vaguely the same way we do color images, or at least concepts like contrast and tone take on different roles in color and B&W. I’m even more impressed than I used to be at folks who work with one foot in each world.

2 Responses

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  1. Doug Plummer said, on March 7, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    No one mentioned my favorite b/w conversion technique, so here it is. It’s simple, and very flexible. Thanks to JP Caponigro.

    Make a hue-Sat layer. Touch nothing.
    Make a Channel Mising layer. Check the Monochrome box. Do nothing else.
    Then, go back to the Hue-Sat layer. You select a single color you want to adjust in the edit box (“red”), then change the Hue slider. You remap where “Red” falls in he original, but it’s translated by the Channel Mixer, without the fuss. It’s like having infinitely variable filters for black and white.

  2. Anil said, on March 7, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Yes. This one works great and is similar to the one I use. I prefer a slight “tint” to B&W and I add a Color Balance layer mask on top of these, click the Midtone button and move the Magenta/Green slider to +2; the Yellow/Blue to -2; click the Highlights button and move Magenta/Green slider to +2; the Yellow/Blue to -2. You can use different values, as per your personal liking.

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