Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video The black-and-white workflow, part of Learning Photomatix Pro.
I've shown you a few examples of black and white along the way. But I absolutely love working with HDR for black and white photography. With black and white, it's all about the contrast and being able to see rich details. And when you strip away the color, a lot of things extra have to really be brought to light to get a compelling image. Well, here's the good news, HDR is a great match for black and white photography. Let me show you how. We'll load some bracketed photos and then browse to find them. And let's just navigate here.
I have a handful of images here from a church in Amsterdam. I'm going to load those up. All right. They're in the dialog box. I'll click okay. Let's take a quick look here. And you see that, that definitely was shot on a tripod. Now we do have a ghost there over on the left. We have a person moving around. But they're not really adding anything to the shot, so we'll just take them out later using Photoshop. All right. Align the source images taken from a tri-pod. There is no chromatic aberration, so I'll align and merge the HDR.
Remember, the tone compressor is a very natural way to do this but, I think I want to go further. Let's bop into Details Enhancer for a moment. And take a look at some of those presets. That's looking pretty good. Now, this is getting a bit strong as we step in there, so I need to find the right balance. I think that's going to do it for me, and let's work our way from the top. Obviously, colour saturation, if we're going for black and white, we're going to leave that down, but it doesn't necessarily have to be all the way gone. Maybe it's a subtle tint just left, very subtle there, so just a little bit's coming through for the eye.
Using tone compression, notice that this is going to affect the overall balance and as you open this up, you're going to see more details throughout some of the mid-tones. But don't necessarily go all the way over. Or it may be too much. I think right about there. And then, of course, play with the contrast to add selective contrast, mainly into that mid-tone area. That's really bringing out some of the detail in the pillars, the shadows for the ridged pillars there. And This rich woodwork here. I really like that coming through.
Let's use the loop there, and you see how that really helps. Remember, the benefit of the loop is you can really tell what's happening at greater magnification, so you can make good judgment as you're working. And, I think that, that's a really good balance there. I like a lot of contrast. Now, we do have different lighting adjustments, so you can go from a natural sort of light that looks very realistic to something that creates a bit more modeling or subtle distortions. Now, surreal is almost always too much, but I do tend to like the medium lighting preset.
Remember, of course, you can uncheck that and use your own slider there To draw it in and let's close this loop for a second. You'll notice that the lighting adjustment is essentially moving the light through the scene, and we're applying light to different areas of the photo. That looks pretty good to me, there. Let's go ahead and scroll down. We can smooth out the highlights a little bit, and bring that black point up so it's nice and rich, play with the gamma, and shift the colour temperature slightly, and there I'm getting a nice sepia tone, that was one of the benefits of living a little bit of colour in the image.
Alright, I like that. A little smoothing. and let's pull down the saturation and the highlights. See too much there. That looks pretty good. I put a little bit back in to the shadows, and That's looking good. In fact, that's looking good, then I'm going to save a preset, because I like it. Subtle sepia. Let's save that as a preset. Note it's stored in the my presets section, so I can use that in the future. That looks great. Let's apply that. And then we'll take advantage of some of these finishing touches.
Let's view that at a slightly larger size. Sharpen a bit. Play with colour. There's not much colour here to see, so it's not going to make much of a change. And then add some contrast in. Let's start with strong. And then back it off. That looks good. Now, this is not a true black and white. It's taken on more of a sepia feel, but I like that. But remember, it's super easy. I could simply click the Redo with Other Settings to tweak this, so after we save this, There we go.
I'll simply click Redo with Other Settings, and this time I'm going to pull the saturation all the way down. Bring that light up a little bit. And lift the gamma. Click apply, and we can save that as a whole 'nother image. V2. And that's one of the best things about how quick it is to use the Redo with Other Settings, so whether you like dramatic black and white or more subtle, subdued colors, make sure you explore some of the options with HDR.
Nothing says you have to work in full color. Reduced chroma or even true black and white often creates very compelling images.
This course was created and produced by Rich Harrington. We're honored to host this material in our library.
- Loading bracketed photos
- Aligning source images
- Reducing noise and chromatic aberration
- Tone mapping with methods
- Fusing a single image or multiple images
- Removing color cast
- Automating with batch processing