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The Practicing Photographer

with Ben Long

Video: Correcting a B&W image for print

Get a weekly serving of photographic insight, instruction, and inspiration from photographer, teacher, and author Ben Long.
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  1. 4m 24s
    1. Minimizing camera baggage NEW
      4m 24s
  2. 1m 35s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
  3. 14h 22m
    1. Choosing a camera
      5m 27s
    2. Looking at light as a subject
      2m 22s
    3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
      5m 45s
    4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
      6m 30s
    5. Let your lens reshape you
      7m 26s
    6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
      7m 44s
    7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
      3m 56s
    8. Shooting without a memory card
      3m 6s
    9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
      5m 28s
    10. Working with reflections
      1m 26s
    11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
      7m 25s
    12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
      7m 30s
    13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
      2m 13s
    14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
      4m 15s
    15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
      11m 41s
    16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
      3m 18s
    17. Using a tripod
      3m 33s
    18. Wildlife and staying present
      5m 58s
    19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
      6m 52s
    20. Why Shoot Polaroid
      11m 12s
    21. Seizing an opportunity
      4m 4s
    22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
      12m 24s
    23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
      4m 54s
    24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
      13m 36s
    25. Shooting wildlife
      7m 24s
    26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
      12m 27s
    27. Using a lens hood
      4m 48s
    28. Working with themes
      2m 48s
    29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    30. Processing an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    31. Two perspectives on travel photography
      12m 28s
    32. Scanning Photos
      5m 37s
    33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
      3m 13s
    34. Reviewing the egg shot images
      6m 47s
    35. Shooting in your own backyard
      4m 38s
    36. Jpeg iPad import process
      3m 17s
    37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
      9m 34s
    38. Reviewing the product shot images
      4m 5s
    39. Warming up
      3m 26s
    40. Taking a panning action shot
      10m 17s
    41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
      8m 17s
    42. Shooting a silhouette
      3m 9s
    43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
      5m 29s
    44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
      12m 38s
    45. Working with flash for macro photography
      4m 56s
    46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
      5m 10s
    47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
      4m 14s
    48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
      3m 4s
    49. Using Lightroom on the road
      6m 28s
    50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
      2m 20s
    51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
    52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
      9m 48s
    53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
      6m 41s
    54. Shooting level
      2m 42s
    55. Photoshop and Automator
      8m 54s
    56. Shooting when the light is flat
      3m 23s
    57. Discussing the business of stock photography
      9m 48s
    58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
      3m 21s
    59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
      4m 45s
    60. Understanding the three flash setup
      3m 34s
    61. Shooting a three flash portrait
      4m 6s
    62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
      4m 43s
    63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
      5m 25s
    64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
      4m 43s
    65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
      7m 29s
    66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
      5m 46s
    67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
      3m 28s
    68. Photography practice through mimicry
      8m 8s
    69. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
      5m 59s
    70. Posing and shooting pairs of people
      5m 35s
    71. Shooting with a shape in mind
      3m 15s
    72. Shooting tethered to a laptop
      4m 40s
    73. Softboxes vs. umbrellas
      2m 55s
    74. Getting your project out into the world
      6m 25s
    75. Exploring how to think about shooting a new environment
      3m 56s
    76. Discussing the book "The Passionate Photographer" with Steve Simon
      6m 4s
    77. Highlighting iOS 8 updates on the iPhone5S
      10m 46s
    78. Exploring manual controls with iOS 8 and ProCamera
      5m 30s
    79. Understanding how to compose with an empty sky
      4m 54s
    80. Using an iPhone to make a print in the darkroom
      7m 16s
    81. How to use glycerin as a photography tool
      2m 16s
    82. Understanding micro focus adjustment and Lens Align
      11m 19s
    83. Working with hair in post
      3m 28s
    84. Taking a quick portrait and directing a subject
      5m 50s
    85. Getting inspired through the work of others
      11m 22s
    86. Taking a flattering portrait with flash
      4m 21s
    87. Creating an unaligned HDR image
      3m 3s
    88. Exploring how to use Bokeh
      5m 38s
    89. Shooting stills from a drone
      6m 57s
    90. Using a monitor to get a first person view of the aerial camera
      8m 0s
    91. Understanding lens profile correction
      5m 33s
    92. Working with models
      2m 40s
    93. Understanding the labels on SD cards
      10m 32s
    94. Setting up a macro time lapse of a flower
      6m 18s
    95. Taking a portrait that's tightly cropped or slightly obscured
      3m 24s
    96. Tips for shooting panoramas
      7m 16s
    97. Carrying a point-and-shoot camera
      4m 44s
    98. Adjusting the color of shadows in an image
      5m 35s
    99. Evaluating camera-strap options
      4m 42s
    100. The 100th Practicing Photographer
      3m 31s
    101. Using light-pollution maps for planning night shoots
      3m 26s
    102. Shooting a series of star shots for a stack
      8m 32s
    103. Stitching together stacks of stars
      8m 59s
    104. Understanding how to clean sensor dust
      10m 27s
    105. Dry sensor cleaning
      6m 23s
    106. Cleaning the sensor with moisture
      7m 32s
    107. Composing in the center
      2m 48s
    108. Working with an electronic shutter control
      2m 50s
    109. Understanding how to use the Wi-Fi feature in some cameras
      2m 56s
    110. Exploring the software equivalent to graduated ND (neutral density) filters
      7m 8s
    111. Don't be predictable in your framing
      10m 21s
    112. Shooting with ND filter and flash to balance subject and background exposure
      2m 42s
    113. Understanding when to go low contrast
      3m 15s
    114. Reasons for shooting images alone
      4m 5s
    115. Working with colored lens filters and converting to black and white
      14m 4s
    116. Waiting for a subject when the light is good
      5m 2s
    117. Understanding options for tripod heads
      7m 23s
    118. Shooting a slow-shutter zoom-and-spin shot for light effect
      4m 47s
    119. Shooting and processing a long exposure at night
      10m 0s
    120. Getting creative with image curation
      4m 12s
    121. Why equivalent lenses don't always meter the same
      5m 42s
    122. Pulling stills from a time lapse
      6m 8s
    123. Composing an image using what you have
      4m 44s
    124. Using good photography skills always
      4m 6s
    125. Converting an image to B&W with Lightroom and Photoshop
      5m 5s
    126. Critiquing images from a group photo event
      24m 13s
    127. Taking the "why not?" kind of shot
      2m 17s
    128. Using a MIDI Lightroom controller
      8m 52s
    129. Vignetting
      9m 56s
    130. Thinking about shooting a metaphor image
      2m 48s
    131. Evaluating different lenses with the same focal length
      5m 3s
    132. Looking at anti-shine options for a natural looking portrait
      3m 30s
    133. Exploring monopod options
      3m 6s
    134. Shooting a product shot on black glass
      7m 44s
    135. Shooting three images without leaving your chair
      8m 14s
    136. Exploring options with high-speed video
      4m 28s
    137. Light painting with a drone at night
      2m 19s
    138. Inspire
      3m 29s
    139. Taking a look at Google Photos
      5m 36s
    140. Using your iPad as a cintique for photo editing
      7m 54s
    141. The future of drone technology
      2m 42s
    142. Correcting a B&W image for print NEW
      9m 7s

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The Practicing Photographer
Video duration: 0s 14h 28m Appropriate for all Updated Feb 04, 2016


In The Practicing Photographer, photographer and teacher Ben Long shares a weekly serving of photographic instruction and inspiration. Each installment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or a software technique. Each installment concludes with a call to action designed to inspire you to pick up your camera (or your mouse or smartphone) to try the technique for yourself.


Correcting a B&W image for print

- This week on the Practicing Photographer, Pigs! I have here this lovely picture of some pigs taken by our esteemed producer, Heather Schuler. And this is a great image. She really worked to get the right moment. Compositionally, your eye does just what it's supposed to. You just lock eyes with this pig and around here you see all these piglets. It's really great. The baby pigs are very cute. The trees make a nice background. It's really just a well-captured moment. She wanted it in black and white which I think is the right choice. The original color image doesn't have much color in it.

And this is the stock Adobe Photoshop gray scale conversion. There's not a lot wrong with it but if we take a look at the histogram here... when I say there's not a lot wrong with it what I mean is that there's not much you can do with this image because there's not a lot of color in it to begin with. So we can't tone a lot of different areas, different things through our black and white conversion. But if I look at the histogram, here' s black, here's white. Most of my tones are clustered in this area here meaning the image is really suffering from a lack of contrast.

It may look a little washed out to you here on this screen and that's because we don't have some strong blacks. But that's mostly this monitor. What's really going to happen is when we print it, it's going to be pretty dark because most of our tones are on this side of middle gray and there's not a lot of variation in tone. I happen to have a printed version of the image right here, and you can see that it is in fact pretty drab. It really needs some punch. So if you stop here with your edits, if you stop here with your conversion and you print it, you can get an okay image.

But there's something much better to be had by doing just a little bit of work to get that histogram looking a little bit healthier throughout the image so that you can have some reasonable contrast. I'm just going to walk you through those edits right now to give you an idea of the type of stuff I do to get an image ready for print. I do almost all of my work through levels adjustment layers and the reason for that is because of a fantastic feature that Photoshop provides while I'm working. And I'll show that to you momentarily. I'm going to start by just thinking about the bottom half of the image. The trees are going to need an edit of their own.

I'm worried about this part right here. This is where the action is, this is where your eye goes. And what we've got in here right now is mostly a lot of similar tone. There's not a lot of difference between the dirt here and the color of the pigs. Now there's not a lot of difference in them in reality, so we're only going to be able to do too much to separate the pigs from the background. But overall this is just a single mash of monotone. So we want more contrast in there. So, ignoring the sky, I'm going to set some points here. I'm just going to ballpark it and put my white over to about here.

I'm going to pull my blacks in. And now right away this area in here is looking much better. If I turn that layer off, you can see I've gone from this to this. Wow! It's immediately got more pop. But it's blown out a lot of stuff in the sky up here. So what I'm going to do is fill this mask here with black so these edits won't impact my image at all. There a number of different ways I can do it. One speedy way to do it is just to invert the mask. It's white right now. If I invert it, it'll be black. I can do that by making sure the mask is selected and hitting command or control I.

And now I'm going to take a paintbrush and some white paint and just start painting in here. And where ever I paint I'm going to get that contrast. Now I'm not going to paint everywhere. I'm going to manipulate the line a little bit here because while I could brighten this stuff up over here, well, here let me just show you. I can brighten up all this stuff up and get more contrast into all of this kind of wall of gray that was in the foreground. Except now I've got this bright area over here.

I don't like that. It's distracting. So I'm going to switch back to black and just keep that masked out. That area of the image I'm not going to correct at all. I actually think the monotonous tone of gray is working for me. Now I said before that I do most of this with level adjustments because of a wonderful feature that Photoshop provides. And here's what that feature is. My histogram is now updated to show only a histogram for the unmasked area of the image. So now I can really precisely place my white point so that I don't clip anything.

I can place my black point where I want it. And I think I'm going to open these mids up a little bit because the majority of the tones are over there on the left-hand side. So, before. After. Big difference. Watch this area over here though as I turn that on and off. You can see no changes happening there. I'm leaving that part of the image unedited. My idea is that I want to pull some light into the middle there to really draw the eye in there once and for all. Let's think about the trees back here. They are a pretty monotonous wall of gray also.

So I'm just going to do that exact same thing. Exact same editing trick, but I'm going to mask it off for the trees this time. Now there are some bright sky bits there in the background that I'm possibly blowing out. Except those bits are already pretty blown out so I'm just going to go ahead and let them go. I don't care that that stuff goes all the way to complete white. And again, one thing to notice my histogram is blank now. It's a little bug in Photoshop. I need to click on some of these to get this histogram to update.

There we go. So I'm going to pull my blacks in a little bit, stretch my whites out. And now I've got more contrast in there. Here comes a before. After. Watch this area in here. This is mostly uniform gray until I turn my edit on and then it just opens up into all this contrast. So that's much nicer. This is almost there. I could print it right here and probably have a pretty good image.

But I'm thinking still I want focus right here. So I'm going to brighten this up. Actually, I'm going to do two things. I'm going to brighten this area up and I want to make the little piglets, the baby pigs, I want to give them a little more contrast to try and pull them off the background a little bit more. Let's do the baby pigs first. I'm going to actually be willing to crush the shadows on those piglets. That sounds far more violent than it is. No piglets will be harmed in this process.

So what I'm doing is a very aggressive contrast adjustment, and now using a mask to just paint that adjustment into the pigs. And, I'm hoping that since I've darkened the shadows up makes them more contrasty, they'll pop off that gray background a little bit more. That's looking pretty good. I don't know what I need to do with her. Oh, she looks a little bit better with some extra black on her too. So, before. After.

That extra shadow detail really helps them stand out a little bit. So last thing let's think more about this area. I want it a little bit brighter. I'm going to try that with an exposure adjustment layer. This is just like dialing exposure compensation up and down on my camera. I'm going to go down about a third of a stop to about there. And I'm just gonna paint some of that in here. I'm being careful of her snout because it's already overexposed.

And I think that looks pretty good. Before. After. Very often you know your ideal lighting is to just have light shining on your subject. And very often you don't have that. There's no reason you can't fake it. Just paint it in with a levels adjustment. So I did this set of edits already or close to this set of edits already. And I'm going to show you before and after so you can really see the difference on paper. So this was our before print. This was the one with low contrast generally muddy. This was straight out of the black and white conversion in Photoshop.

This is new, improved pigs which has a lot more contrast but it's a controlled contrast. I didn't do a uniform contrast throughout the image. I made sure that I had control of the contrast up here separately than down here because I had different needs up here. But I also mostly focused on bringing detail into this area. Brightening up the middle, pulling the pigs off the background by giving them more contrast and not bothering to punch up this area over here on the side. And nothing back here. It's all about trying to make sure that you've got good black to white in the areas that need it.

And what's so great about Photoshop is the fact that my histogram shows me the true histogram for the masked area that I'm working on. It makes it really easy to target these areas and get black and white exactly right. If what you've just seen has left you completely flummoxed or you think you understand it and you'd like to know more, I have an entire course where we do nothing but this. We start with an image and we correct it for print. And we do that over and over and over. It's actually designed to get you to practice. You'll get a whole set of images and you can do these types of edits over and over until you really get your eye trained to see the kind of stuff that I'm seeing now.

It's really what's necessary to get good results on paper.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about The Practicing Photographer .

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Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.





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