Black and white photography made easy: tips for pro-quality results from start to finish
Take control of conversion
The biggest problem with in-camera black and white is that contrasting colours can end up with a similar tonal value in your images.
There are a number of ways to change the way that individual colours are converted into black and white, including in-camera filter effects, but the best way to learn is by using the black-and-white adjustment tools in either Elements or Photoshop CS.
These adjustments allow you to use sliders to control how individual colours are converted into black-and-white tones. Darkening or lightening the tones of these colours can transform your final result compared to a more basic conversion.
To use these tools you’ll need to use a colour original, so you should either turn off the black-and-white picture mode on your camera, or simply shoot in raw format and then process the raw file without using the black-and-white effect.
Shooting for success
This conversion technique relies on contrasting colours in your original image, so we chose to shoot a simple pink flower against a blue background. The basic set-up was positioned on a table close to a window, but not in direct sunlight.
This diffuse lighting was deliberately chosen to provide a soft light without there being too many shadows on the flower or the background.
With your image open in Elements, you simply need to go to Enhance>Convert to Black and White.
This will open up a new window that contains a whole range of preset styles to choose from, along with the manual controls for adjusting the red, green and blue intensity, and a contrast control.
On the next page we’ll take a look at some of the Preset options available in Photoshop Elements.
PAGE 1: How to compose for black and white photography
PAGE 2: Good subjects for black and white photography
PAGE 3: Try using in-camera filters for your black and white photography
PAGE 4: Shooting images you can easily convert to black and white
PAGE 5: Black and white conversion in Photoshop Elements
PAGE 6: Black and white conversion in Photoshop CS
PAGE 7: Master Photoshop Levels and Curves
PAGE 8: Using the Levels sliders
PAGE 9: Master the Dodge and Burn tools
PAGE 10: Toning techniques for black and white photography
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on Monday, November 5th, 2012 at 2:00 am under B&W, Photography Tips.
Tags: black and white photography, photo ideas, Shoot Like A Pro