Custom Black & White Edits

In my last post I wrote about custom black and white edits. I wanted to quickly show that there is a bit more to it then just clicking on the grayscale button.

I’m not going to go into heavy detail, but, usually I work in Lightroom, so I adjust the color photo first, I work with the exposure, recovery, fill light, saturation, curves, shadows, blacks, lights, highlight sliders and all the color sliders to get the photo where I want it to be. I often use the brushes to go in and lighten or darken a specific part of a photo. These are things that Snapfish, Shutterfly or Walgreens, etc. wont do. So, that’s why you want your photog to do custom black and white edits.

Here’s what a photo would look like if I sent it to a consumer lab and they converted it to black and white:

Notice all the gray? It’s very muddy.

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Here’s a simple modified version of that. See the subtle difference?
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And a bit more modified. I like this one the best.
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And a brownish split-toned version of the pic.
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And last but not least, here’s a rosy black and white. You can use layers to make an image warm/cool/rosy/green, etc.
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With that said, the first step is picking a photo that is a good candidate for a black/white conversion. I look for lots of contrast in a photo (Addie wearing pink and sitting in the grass won’t work well, because there would be too many midtones). I also like when the background contrasts with the subject. In the photo above, there is a black background to contrast her light face.

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