Monday, April 16, 2012
A Simple Secret For Beautiful Black & White Portraits—04/16/12
Master photographer Howard Schatz shares his easy advice
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
"I'm going to give you my secret," he told me. "Everybody talks about channels and this and that, and you've got to make sure your reds and yellows are this and your blues and your greens and cyans are this… I don't believe it. I do believe that's true when you're converting color work of anything but human skin—like outdoor work, mountain work, landscape work, rivers, snow, sea, forest… Perhaps even photojournalistic work in which there are colors in addition to skin colors. But Photoshop is built to desaturate skin perfectly. So I just go to Hue/Saturation, I zoom it to zero, and I'm happy with that."
Sure, it helps if your subjects are nudes in the studio and literally all you've got to worry about is the conversion of the skin, but his approach works for plain old portraits as well. What it lacks in subtlety and nuance it makes up for in brevity and ease. So the next time you've got a color portrait you'd like to convert to black-and-white, don't be afraid to desaturate it. I look at it like this: if it's good enough for Howard Schatz, it's good enough for me.