Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Black and white in post

From: The Elements of Effective Photographs

Video: Black and white in post

Most imaging software programs give you a couple ways to convert to black and white. I'll be demonstrating in Adobe Lightroom, but the techniques will apply to others too. The first thing I do is go into the Develop Module. I really like the control it gives you. You have much more control than when you're working in the Library alone. One simple way is to go over here and click on the Black & White, and you immediately get a nice conversion. Once you've done that, you can adjust it a little bit by using the sliders.

Black and white in post

Most imaging software programs give you a couple ways to convert to black and white. I'll be demonstrating in Adobe Lightroom, but the techniques will apply to others too. The first thing I do is go into the Develop Module. I really like the control it gives you. You have much more control than when you're working in the Library alone. One simple way is to go over here and click on the Black & White, and you immediately get a nice conversion. Once you've done that, you can adjust it a little bit by using the sliders.

Increase the Exposure, decrease it. I like to add blacks. I like a beefy print, so I pull that over a little bit. Another way is to go down to Saturation and pull the slider all the way over to -100. Again, at that point you can go back in and adjust your Blacks, your Brightness, whatever you want to do with this particular photograph. Now, Lightroom has all sorts of great presets.

Watch the preview up here as I scroll through them. It gives you an idea of what that kind of technique is. Which one you choose will really depend on your preference. Let's take a look at the High Contrast. Now this one, to my mind, is a little bit too contrasty. So I am just going to go over here and I am going to adjust it a little bit, drop down the Contrast, and I will brighten it up a little bit too. But the best way for me to convert is to go down to the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance panel.

I go into Saturation and I pull each of the colors down to -100. The photograph is still in color, but I'm just taking the saturation out of the colors. After that's done, I go to the Luminance. And this is a wonderful tool, the Target Adjustment tool. Click on that, go over to the area in the photograph that you want to darken or lighten, and it will catch only the color that is the dominant color there.

So in this case I want to darken the blue, so I am clicking and holding and pulling down, and see how that's darkening the blue up there in the sky? If I want to lighten it, I can just push it back up and it's lightened up. So let's take that back down. We'll pull it down, pull it down. Yeah, that's where I want it. Now I also want to darken this area. This was a day where there was a little bit of smog in the Seattle skyline, so I'm pulling down this a little bit to kind of bring that down in value.

Now, down here, the greens, I want to raise them up just to give a little bit more detail in them. So I am clicking and holding and pushing up, and it is just very subtle, what I have done down here, but I think it adds to the photograph. Okay, that looks pretty good. Now, I am going to go back up and take the Adjustment brush and darken the sky even more. So I will go in here. I have got -.61. I'm going to bring the Contrast back to 0, because I like to adjust individual brushes.

That way I can mess with them a little bit later, as far as the intensity. I am going to do the right bracket to increase my brush size and then start painting the sky a little darker. So I think that's just a little bit heavy. I am going to pull it back up just a little bit. Now I want to increase contrast. So I am going to go to a new brush, and I am going to increase that contrast. Again, I'll put it up to 46, 51, see what it looks like.

Using the same big brush, I will go in and paint the sky. Increase the contrast a little more, and the clouds are really popping out from that nice blue sky. All right! That looks pretty good. At this point, I think that I'm going to just go back and do a little bit more adjustment on the Exposure. That looks pretty good. I'm going to go in and beef up the blacks a little bit. That looks good.

So I like what's happened here. This is going to look really dynamic as a print. Let's take a look at where I started and where I finished. This is the started. This is the finished. Compare them side to side. Pretty nice! I like the black and white a lot better than I like the color. There are a lot of ways to convert to black and white, but in the end it really boils down to what works for your creative eye.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for The Elements of Effective Photographs
The Elements of Effective Photographs

29 video lessons · 25326 viewers

Natalie Fobes
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed The Elements of Effective Photographs.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.