Tempted by magic of black and white photography? Let me just tell you this: before you start experimenting do remember the simple most important rule: black & white photos never get created just but removing colors from an ordinary color picture.
Just before we start, let me warn you: black & white charm can be a bit deceptive – and become even a cheap effect. Why? Because of eternal and universal rule stating that most of B&W photo would always look better than the original. Just try it, if you doubt…
Anyway, black and white photography is fascinating and you should dive into it, at least time to time. But always keep in mind that you should never just remove colors from the original version – with, for instance, the Black and White adjustment tool in Photoshop (or be desaturating it).
Why? Just look at the pictures of my wife from out photography training. One is original without retouching – yes, sort of boring. Second picture show the most common mistake – the one I just mentioned: the picture is technically B&W, because I used the color removal tools. But is it terribly flat, gray and boring.
To get it right, we need to understand what any photographer´s soul actually wants (and likes). The answer is simple: we love pictures in which black is really black and white is really white (not gray).
The easiest, most effective and probably most common way of achieving it is using Adobe Camera Raw. (Remember: you can open even jpg files in it, not only raws). On the fourth tab, use the function „Convert To Grayscale“. Yes, that´s exactly the very boring gray result.
All the magic can be done by a couple of decent moves (as little as two could be enough) in the first tab.
First, I suggest you move Exposure to right – white tones will be whiter.
And then make black color blacker (by increasing the amount on Blacks). Obviously, you can play with other controls, such as Contrast or Recovery.
And here we go: finally we get a lovely and REALLY black and white photo.
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