Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Black & White Basics
What you need to know to make the best black-and-white images
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Making black-and-white images is easier than ever, thanks to black-and-white adjustments in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as black-and-white plug-ins like Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro, Perfect B&W from onOne Software and Topaz Labs' B&W Effects.
Sure, you can play around with the sliders in the programs and plug-ins, and you may wind up with a cool-looking image. With an understanding of the basics of black-and-white imaging, however, you can create a more powerful, more dramatic and even more artistic image. I'll cover those basics in this column. I'll use some of the recent photographs that I've taken in Death Valley to illustrate my points.
Before we get going, however, here's an important thing to think about when it comes to creating a great black-and-white image. As you're composing your image, you need to learn to see in tones, rather than seeing colors, and to envision how shadows and highlights will "play" in your black-and-white images. How will the scene look without color? After a while, you'll be able to visualize the final image more easily in black-and-white.
I created the opening image using Nik Silver Efex Pro, paying close attention to the basics of black-and-white photography: adjusting Levels, understanding the effects of filters and controlling contrast. These are the black-and-white basics you need to consider when working with software to convert an image.
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