
CONVERT COLOR PICTURES TO B&W
152
When you’re done, click OK, and Photoshop will do additional processing and present
you with an untitled 16-bit HDR image. Save it as a Photoshop file. Now you can spruce
up your picture with your favorite controls, such as Levels, Hue/Saturation, Curves,
and Unsharp Mask. When you’re done, save the image again, keeping it as a Photoshop
file. is becomes your master print. If you need to use your image in screen presenta-
tions, such as a slide show or a web page, use the Save As command to create JPEG
duplicates.
Convert Color Pictures to B&W
Even though digital cameras can shoot just fine in B&W mode, for the best quality I
recommend that you capture in color and then convert your images to B&W on the
computer. is is an easy process that lets you have both versions of the file, ensuring
that you have maximum flexibility when it comes time for output. Nearly every photo
management application provides you with this option.
Once you have your pictures uploaded to the computer, open your favorite image edi-
tor and look for the option that enables you to convert to B&W. is is an option that
should be available regardless of the application you’re using. But I do like the convert-
ers in some image editors better than others. I’m going to walk you through a few of my
favorite applications here.
B&W in Photoshop CS3
If you’re using Photoshop CS3 (Mac and Windows) go to ImageAdjustmentsBlack
& White. You can click the Auto button to let Photoshop take the initial stab at the
conversion, and then manually adjust the sliders to suit your taste. You might also want
to sample the variety of predesigned settings listed in the Presets pop-up menu. Tradi-
tional B&W photographers will recognize the yellow, orange, and red filter presets. Once
you’ve settled on the look you want, click OK and Photoshop will finish processing your
shot. You can now use Levels, Curves, and other Photoshop tools to fine-tune your im-
age. Be sure to Save As when you’re finished so that you don’t overwrite the original
color photo.

CONVERT COLOR PICTURES TO B&W
153
B&W in iPhoto
Apple’s iPhoto (Mac) simplifies this process even more. Start by opening your photo
in Edit mode. en click on the Effects button at the bottom of the window. You’re
presented with a grid of nine thumbnails that display previews of the various filters
for your photo. B&W, Sepia, and Antique are all great options for monochrome ef-
fects. Just click on the button you want, and iPhoto applies the filter. If you decide
you don’t like the way the image looks, simply go to EditUndo to return the image
to its full-color glory. You can also continue working on your image after conversion
by opening the Adjust panel and playing with the Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, and
other sliders.
Type of artist Suggested software Anticipated results
Novice Don’t use any; just shoot in

Fair; cameras do a decent
job, but few options later in
postproduction
Aficionado 
Lightroom
Simple one-click conversions
produce pleasing results capable
of making nice prints
Approaching
Adams
Grayscale conversion tools in
Adobe Camera Raw, Photo-
shop CS3, Apple Aperture, and
Adobe Lightroom
Capable of superb results rivaling
traditional chemical process, es-
pecially when output to capable

Going grayscale
B&W in Lightroom
I think the best method in Adobe Lightroom is to open your picture in the Develop
module, and then click on the Grayscale label in the HSL / Color / Grayscale panel.
You can adjust the tonal mix of your image by moving the Grayscale Mix sliders to
the left and right. You may also want to use the Target Adjustment tool and adjust
specific tones in the image by dragging the tool up and down on the areas you want
lighter or darker.

CONVERT COLOR PICTURES TO B&W
154
In Lightroom, you can make a virtual copy of your original color photo and
then convert the copy to B&W using the advanced tools in the Develop module.
You Make the Call
As you can see from this small sampling of imaging applications, B&W conversion
and adjustment is a straightforward process in postproduction. Test the method you
choose by making prints and comparing them to B&W images you like. With a little
trial and error, you can develop a workflow that is efficient and produces attractive
grayscale images.
TIP

         http://www.alienskin.com) is a
Photoshop plug-in that features more than 300 presets that let you simulate nearly
  
TRI-X 400.

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