before and after #2 … [workshop wednesday]

I’m sorry for being such a bad blogger lately. The last couple of weeks have been pretty rough, and blogging slipped below more important things on the priority list 🙁

Anyway, it’s now two weeks late, but here’s my long-awaited intro to black and white post production. And there’s a whole hour of Wednesday left as I start writing this, so it TOTALLY counts as a workshop wednesday 😉

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways to convert a colour image to black and white. Just ask Google. Seriously. There’s a whole world of possibilities out there!

My approach, as always, is simple, Lightroom-based and not particularly earth-shattering. I hope it helps you figure out an approach that works for you 🙂

Here’s a colour image, straight out of camera, from Ainslie and Rohan’s wedding:

It looks OK in colour, but to my mind, the long shadows are begging for black and white treatment. This is the end result I was going for:

And here’s how I got there (just using Lightroom’s Develop module):

  1. White balance: avoiding proper colour correction by converting to black and white makes for crappy black and whites. Don’t be lazy! For this photo, I set my colour temperature to 7000 with a tint of +15.
  2. Grayscale treatment: I have Lightroom configured to apply an automatic grayscale mix as soon as I convert from colour to grayscale (Preferences > Presets). Usually it does a pretty good job (assuming my white balance is correct 😉 ), but occasionally I might darken the greens, lighten the reds or make other minor adjustments. In this case, I didn’t override Lightroom’s defaults.
  3. Tone: Again, I usually start by auto-toning my photos, and tweaking from there. For this photo, I made the following adjustments:

    * Exposure: 0
    * Recovery: 34
    * Fill Light: 14
    * Blacks: 10
    * Brightness: +109
    * Contrast: +100

  4. Vignette: Finally, I applied a vignette to further draw attention towards Ainslie and Rohan.

Voila! A pretty dramatic-looking black and white 🙂 I hope you found that useful … if so, please spread the word!

25 February 2010 - 10.37am

steph - great result – and good tip about getting the WB right before you remove the colour

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