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Friday, April 24, 2009

Black and White: A Discussion

I have really grown to like black and white pictures. However, as I've grown as a photographer, I've learned that changing a photo over to black and white can actually be a complicated process based on what your ultimate goals are for a photo.

As always here at Midget Invasion, click each picture to see it bigger. It will definitely help to do that in some of my final steps to see the difference.

My base picture. This is straight out of the camera, just resized.

If we just use the function that desaturates the picture, we get this, which obviously sucks.

Let's try the "grayscale" function, which is my preferred method. Still sucks here though.

So obviously it needs lightening and such. I prefer to do most of that while the photo is still in color. Sometimes the "One step photo fix" actually does a decent job. Let's try that.

Now, if I was leaving this in color, I could almost call myself done. Let's see what happens if we just grayscale that.

Not too bad. I like my pictures to have a little more pop than that though. So what I like to do, is go back to the photo in color, and raise the brightness and contrast, till it's almost on the verge of being too much. I like hitting it over and over, till it does go to the point of "too much" and then undoing the last one. Till I get something about like this.

Which using the grayscale function then ends up like this.

The final thing I have discovered, is that sometimes, what a black and white conversion needs, is some color. Red adds warmth, and blue adds a coolness. I definitely want to go warm with this photo, so I added some red.

Although to show the extremely subtle difference, here is one where I added a touch of blue instead.

Anyways, back to the red. Sometimes, when a photo warrants, I'll then use the Soft Focus option, just to give the picture, well, softness.

And now I think I'm finally happy with this one. Who knew that something as simple seeming as converting a photo to black and white could be so, well, not black and white?


Lacey said...

Hence why I create actions and then slightly adjust from there....of course, I bulk process due to time constraints.

That pic definitely calls for the warmth though.

Meghann said...

Yeah, although since I'm not a Photoshop user I don't have "actions" I use Paint Shop Pro, have been for 5 years, and am pretty set in my ways. I think there is something similar on that program, but I haven't messed with it yet. After 5 years, I'm still learning!

I'm sure if I had a billion photos to process, I'd just do the one step photo fix button and be done, lol!