Chapter 8. Better Black & White Images with RAW

Like most photographers, I hold a special place in my heart for black and white photography. If you take away the red, greens, and blues and replace them with subtle shifts of luminance, you’ll find form and shape are emphasized. A beautiful black and white image is a welcome respite to the eyes and mind in a world full of oversaturated and gaudy color.

In this chapter, I’ll show you a couple ways to use Camera Raw and Photoshop to generate a wide range of tones and tints from your RAW files and make black and white images that rival—and even surpass—traditional film shooting and processing techniques.

Chapter Contents

RAW Is Inherently Grayscale
Using Camera RAW to Generate Black & White Images
Shooting Considerations for Black & White Images
Using Calibration Controls to Fine Tune and Tint
Advanced Localized Black & White Control

RAW Is Inherently Grayscale

A photographer I know questioned the validity of converting a color digital image to black and white, or technically, grayscale. His point of reference was the traditional film world where he’d never shoot color film when he wanted a black and white result. He was comforted when I explained that in reality all digital images are fundamentally grayscale and they aren’t “converted” to grayscale. Sensors only record luminance values for color-filtered pixels. The characteristic ...

Get Photoshop CS2 RAW now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.