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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Convert To Black & White

How to transform your color images into stunning monochrome

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Today, many photographers rely on Lightroom as their main editing and database program. Lightroom 4 offers many options for converting your images to black-and-white. Before doing any conversion on your image, make sure the basic adjustments like exposure, whites and blacks are set the way you want them.

Probably the quickest way to convert an image to black-and-white and get decent results is to try out a Lightroom B&W Preset. Open your image in Lightroom and choose the Develop module. On the left side in Presets, choose the Lightroom B&W Presets folder. There are seven actions for you to try out on your image and one might be a good choice for your image. Also, in the folder Lightroom B&W Filter Presets, a variety of colored filters allow you to add contrast between certain colors in your shot.

This method is a quick fix, but I prefer a different technique to convert my images to black-and-white in Lightroom 4. I start by opening my image in the Develop module and adjusting exposure, white, blacks, and highlights so my color image looks good. Next, I go to the HSL/COLOR/B&W window and choose B&W.

This converts the image to black-and- white. Individual colors are listed in this window, allowing you to lighten and darken the tonalities in your image. But what I really like is using the Targeted Adjustment tool, located in the left corner. I click on this tool, put my cursor over an area in the image I want to adjust, then click and drag on that area.

This tool will choose the exact color mix I need to lighten or darken an area in my shot. Some colors, like blue, will obviously lighten or darken a blue sky in your image. But if you can't figure which slider to use to adjust an area in your black-and-white image, use the Targeted Adjustment tool.

I often get the results I like using this technique. Occasionally, I'll also open the Tone Curves window and add an ounce more contrast to my image. To do this, make a very slight "S" curve by moving the Highlights slider to the right (plus) and the Shadows slider to the left (minus). This window also has a Targeted Adjustment tool to use in lightening or darkening specific areas of the image.

After I've done all my black-and-white adjustments, I often go back to the basic adjustments for minor changes. I really like increasing Clarity in black-and-white shots, especially those with a lot of texture. Pushing the Clarity slider to the right really makes things pop.


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