Chapter 10. Removing and Adding Color

A stunning black-and-white image is so much more than just a color photo without color. If you love classic black-and-white photography, or if you yearn to be the next Ansel Adams, you’ll be over the moon with the high-quality black-and-white conversions Elements can do. If, on the other hand, you can’t imagine why anyone would willingly abandon color, consider that in a world crammed with eye-popping colors, black and white really stands out. Or say you need to have something printed where you can’t use color illustrations. And for artistic photography, there’s nothing like black and white, where tone and contrast make or break the photo, without colors to distract you from its underlying structure.

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to turn a color photo black and white, and how to create images that are partly in color and partly black and white. You’ll also learn how to reverse the process and colorize black-and-white images.

Method One: Making Color Photos Black and White

Generally, just removing the color from a photo produces a flat-looking, uninteresting image. A good black-and-white photo usually needs more contrast than you’ll get if you simply zap the color. You can create different effects and moods in your photo, depending on what you decide to emphasize in the black-and-white version.

Black-and-white conversion has traditionally been a pretty complicated process. If you do a Google search, you’ll find dozens of recipes for doing conversions. ...

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