Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop
Illustration by Richard Downs

Shooting with black and white in mind


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Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop

with Bryan O'Neil Hughes

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Video: Shooting with black and white in mind

So, I mentioned that when you're shooting in black and white, you want to make sure that you think in black and white, and it might be tempting to put your camera in a mode so that it records a black and white image, but you absolutely don't want to do that. The color information is really important. It's going to be really important in the editing process, but it's also entirely possible that you might decide that you wanted a color image. It's a lot easier to discard that information in software than in the camera, so make sure you don't shoot in a black and white mode in your camera.
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Watch the Online Video Course Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop
42m 1s Intermediate Apr 15, 2013

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Shoot in color, but think in black and white. In this course, Adobe Photoshop Senior Product Manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes shares his favorite techniques for transforming color photographs into black and white, a technique that provides more creative options than using your camera's black-and-white mode. Learn how to prepare and fine-tune your photographs in Lightroom, and then move them into Photoshop to take advantage of its nondestructive adjustment layers. The course also introduces techniques for using Photoshop to adjust the color of video clips.

Topics include:
  • Why black and white?
  • Shooting with black and white in mind
  • Setting up Lightroom and creating image versions
  • Utilizing presets effectively
  • Creating black-and-white HDR images with Lightroom and Photoshop
  • Taking advantage of black-and-white adjustment layers
  • Adjusting the toning of images
  • Working with the Silver Efex plugin
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Bryan O'Neil Hughes

Shooting with black and white in mind

So, I mentioned that when you're shooting in black and white, you want to make sure that you think in black and white, and it might be tempting to put your camera in a mode so that it records a black and white image, but you absolutely don't want to do that. The color information is really important. It's going to be really important in the editing process, but it's also entirely possible that you might decide that you wanted a color image. It's a lot easier to discard that information in software than in the camera, so make sure you don't shoot in a black and white mode in your camera.

The one exception to this would be Leica makes a camera devoted just to black and white photography, and it does that exceptionally well, it works kind of like the old film thinking, but I'm guessing you probably don't have that. I know I don't. A couple of other things you should know about shooting in black and white, and best practices in general. You want to make certain that, especially in the case where you're shooting fine art photography, or landscapes, just like with color, make certain to take the time to stabilize your camera. It's important no matter what you're doing, but if your intent is to produce fine art, that will yield the sharpest possible image.

The other thing it's going to let you do is shoot with the lower ISO, and that means less grain, and less noise. Now, having said that, one of the best things about black and white is that excessive noise can come through as an aesthetic, and it can give your image a whole new feel. So, it can be sort of the grainy, T-Max 3200, to borrow from the past, look to your image. It can give it a certain warmth. But you want to think about these best practices when you're shooting. The last one I'll leave you with is, if you have the ability to shoot RAW, make sure that you do that. By shooting JPEG, you're compressing the image, and you're discarding a lot of really valuable information.

We want to hold onto as much color, and as much information, so that as we convert to black and white, we have the highest fidelity output. So, just some things to keep in mind while you're out there shooting.

There are currently no FAQs about Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop.

 
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