A few people yesterday expressed an interest about me doing a tutorial on how I do black and white images. There are so many different ways of doing this, and so while I’m going to show you what I do, this is only part of it. This is going to be an easy way, I hope. Just a few steps, though the first part you can do and leave it there if you choose.
Here is the final image and then I will show you how I did it.
The first step is alway going to choose the image. The best types of images are ones that have lots of contrast, which is lots of darks and lights. If you choose one that is very colourful but with little contrast it won’t convert to monochrome very well.
I choose an image that was taken in at the Docklands recently of the Melbourne Star. I have opened it in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), which you can do by using the o Browse in Bridge. Click on the image then go to the file menu and press Open in Camera Raw.
You can see the basic processing I did in the image below.
Everything that is done is ACR can also be done in Lightroom.
In the panel on the right, the area above the red oval in the image above and press the fourth icon from the left, as in the image below. Check the box to Convert to Grayscale. You can see the sliders for the different colours or tones that are in the image. Try playing around with them and watch what happens to the image.
Each colour will give you a difference effect. Be careful with Aquas and Blues. They can make skies very pixelated and make them look unnatural.
The image was opened in Photoshop CC 2015. There were some marks on the edge of the image so a new layer was opened and the spot healing tool selected. Make sure the Sample All Layers is checked in the tool options under the main menu at the top.
To make a new layer you go to the panel where the layers are and down the bottom are a series of icons. Click on the one next to the rubbish bin and it will open a new transparent layer.
You can also open a new layer by going to the Layer Panel in the main menu at the top. Click new and then okay.
Add a Curves Adjustment Layer. (I don’t know why but sometimes on my computer Curves is upside down, so you might have it up the other way.) If you click on the triangle at the lighter end and move it along it will increase the highlights a little. Be careful doing this that you don’t blow the highlights out.
Open a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer. Move the contrast to the right, again be careful that you don’t go too far. Go to where you think it looks good, then go further so it looks horrible, then go back until it looks better again.
Add another new layer (1). Go the tool box and select the gradient tool (2). Up in the tool options turn the opacity down so it isn’t strong (3). Then add some to the top. Make sure the gradient is set to Foreground to Transparent.(Do this by with the long icon/window in the tool options bar.) Click outside the image at the top, then do the same inside just down from the top. You will see where the gradient has been applied. Take a look at the image below. Make sure that black is set as the foreground colour.
A new Curves Adjustment Layer is added and the image is made a little darker. With the lasso tool (located in the tool box) make a selection around the middle of the image. Though this can be done for any part, depends on your photo.
You need to feather the selection, click Shift F6. In the Feather Selection window change Feather Radius to what you would like, I chose 200 pixels. Press OK.
Add a new Curves Adjustment Layer. In the layer mask, the square that is normally all white now had some black in it. You can see that in the image below. In the curves panel make the image lighter.
You should have noticed that it only happens in the area that you selected.
You are going to add a tone to the image now, but to do this you have to convert it back to a colour image. If you don’t whatever tone you add will look like a shade of grey.
In the Main Menu at the top click on Image, then Mode and select RGB colour. You will be asked to do a couple of things, pick the don’t do it for each option.
You will need to select the Paint Bucket Tool (1below). If you can’t see it then click and hold on the gradient tool and a window will pop up. In that you will see the tool.
Click on the foreground colour (2) and the window below will appear and you can select your colour. A blue tone was chosen for this image. Press OK
Add a new layer and with the Paint Bucket Tool click on the image, make sure the new layer is highlighted. The whole image will go blue. In the image below you can see the drop down menu that was opened, these are the blending modes. Go to Color and select it.
Once you have selected it you should see your image have that tone. Look at the image below.
It may be too strong and you will need to change the opacity for the colour layer. Use the opacity slider at the top of the Layers Panel. Look at the next image.
You don’t have to do all of these, but it gives you an idea of what I do. Please remember that, it is what I do, and lots of other people will do different things. I’m sure that we will get lots of ideas for what else you can do to Black and White photos.
Good luck with your own black and white images.