Tuesday, 5 July 2011

{blp} A Guide to Black and White Conversion - Weddings

I have seen on some of the online forums that people are struggling with Black and White conversions. Whilst I do not profess to have the "best" I don't use Black and White Presets in general. I have made my own.

This post is not for those who already have black and white presets that they use, nor am I trying to tell people how to suck eggs - this is for those that generally struggle with Black and White conversion.

First of all. Not every image looks good in Black and White. Second of all, you can use the present in the camera, it can sometimes be a bit wishy-washy (yes that is a technical term!) and third. I dont use Lightroom.

First of all I open the image in Camera Raw. I always make slight adjustments in Camera Raw.

I shoot at a constant WB and then change in Camera Raw. This helps my Workflow, and is more consitant I have found.

It is not by any means right, nor do I think that everyone should do this. Its a tip that I picked up and it works for me. Everyone works differently

Second I make my adjustments. I make adjustments for the WB and I also add contrast and clarity to all my images. I set it at 50 of each. I like it, and thats how I edit.

I am self taught in all aspects of Photoshop, so I just do what works for me, and if the clients are happy then that is what matters.

To change the WB take your White Picker tool and click on something white. This is generally the groom's shirt. You will see what "looks right" and what doesn't.

Closer of what I do in Camera Raw.

Then I run a batch process on all my images. For the Weddings I use a preset for this that I found on a free download. I liked it and use it. You can find it here. Its Action 21 and called Ghost Glow.

So now we are onto the part on when I start converting to Black and White - and will look at several options for you to help you. The best thing to do, is open an image and play about with it. Then do it again but as an action. Then open up about 10 images and make sure it works on several different photographs. If it doesnt you have a choice to make - start again, or only convert the ones that you think will be best converted.

Black and White with Gradient Map: I have been and used many presets and black and white actions. I have used Channel Mixer and I have used the Black and White in Photoshop. Gradient Map works just as well as any of them. If not better. You can layer up several different gradient map layers, each one making it more contrasty - or you can change the blending of the layer to give it different looks.

Black and White with Gradient Map and Contrast: This just has an extra boost of Contrast for the image on top of the Gradient Map. I've heard photographers who are scared to use Contrast, but dont be. Use it to the best advantages that you can do. Try it.

To show Contrast boosted again by 50

Black and White as above now introducing Diffuse Glow: I would generally only use diffuse glow as and when needed, but I do use it in a lot of actions event at a  low usage. You can apply it directly to the image, or make an additional layer and apply it to that, and then reduce the opacity of that layer. Here I have just applied it directly to the image.

It will take you to the Diffuse Glow Screen, where you can add grain, and glow amount etc. I always have glow amount on 1 as I do not want to overpower the image etc. I then have clear amount on about 15. Open the screen and play about, you will find something for the image that looks "right" and only you will know what that is.

TIP: Remember to have your swatches set correctly. The bottom Swatch Colour will be the one applied to the image. Make sure this is white.

Black and White Image, with Diffuse Glow. Finished.

Next I will look at a couple of presets which are free to download.

The First Action is the Creamy Chocolate BW Action available from The Coffee Shop Blog which can be downloaded here

It is a lovely Sepia style tone of Image.

This second Pre-set is called the Spelndor B&W and is also available to download here

This has removeable layers, so you can decide what tint you want your image to have. This is good if you are doing this for individual images, not so good if like me, you Batch Process.

Above Action with the tints turned off.

Well Done if you have got this far!

If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask.

Blogger Comments havent fully been working so if you cannot leave a question in comment, then email me on adele@bluelightsphotography.co.uk

I will also be doing a Studio Portrait Black and White conversion. I hope this helps!

1 comment:

  1. :) thanks for that. Another way that I will use in the future.


Real Time Web Analytics