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- 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
Skill Level Intermediate
We've taken our image really far here, from a low contrast color image, to a really rich black and white, with sepia tone, but there are a couple of last things I want to do. Let's come into the Detail panel here, and talk a really briefly about Sharpening. Now, sharpening is something you don't want to do in camera; you definitely want to do this in software. If you have access to Photoshop, you can do it selectively, but a lot of the times, people want to do a little bit of sharpening here in Lightroom, so let's talk about how to do that. I'm going click this little widget here, and click that point on the elephant's eye.
Essentially, what you'd want to do is choose an area that you want to sharpen, and I like having the best of both worlds here. I have got a 100% preview over here on the Detail panel, and I can see the whole image over here on the left. Now, I can individually pull these sliders, and I can see how the image is affected, but what's really handy here is, if I hold the Option or Alt key, it's temporarily going to make the image just straight monochromatic; it's going to remove that toning. If it were a color image, it would temporarily be black and white, and I can see the effects of the Sharpening slider. Now, less is definitely more here. I really encourage you to not over-sharpen.
A couple of things to note here are the Amount, the Radius, which is the distance that's affected, the Detail that is either preserved or left out, and most importantly, and one of the coolest things, is Masking. If I pull this, white means the entire image is sharpened, and as I pull over to the right, I'm creating a mask, so only the white areas would be sharpened, and I really like to use this. Not only do I like to use minimal sharpening, but I like to mask off as much as possible, so now I'm just sharpening the eye, and the area around the eye.
When it comes to Noise Reduction, I encourage you to think about that when the image is color. If you like the color image, then work with Noise Reduction then. If you've already made it black and white, a lot of the time you're going to find the noise doesn't matter as much. It manifests itself as grain, which is much less of a nuisance in a monochromatic image. So, we're going to leave Noise Reduction alone. Also, this was taken on the middle of the day, so it really doesn't matter. Lens Correction; every single lens has some sort of problems with it. Either it's distorted, or there is falloff in the corners.
If I were to choose automated lens correction on this, I don't see anything. Normally, it automatically populates all these fields, but the reason for that is I was shooting with a teleconverter. I was shooting with a 70 to 200 lens that's at 400. So, what you can do if you ever don't find the right profile is you can fake it. Canon, yeah okay; let's go with a 400 lens. I shot a 70 to 200, and that absolutely looks better. It's removing some of the fallout in the corners, and it's taking some of the distortion out. Nine times out of ten, when you click Enable Profile Corrections, you're going to get the exact setup that you had, but if you don't find that, play around with the list that you have there, because you can almost always make it better.
The last thing I want to talk about is the Effects panel here. When it comes to introducing a little more drama to the image, we can darken the edges to bring our focus to the center. We can adjust the midpoint, and then I like to use Feather to soften that out, and that looks great. We could also take Grain and move grain in here. Now, with black and white, adding a little bit of grain can be nice, because you can give it sort of a film aesthetic. The area where I like it the most is if I have mixed ISO imagery that's sitting side by side, grain is a way to establish some consistency between images.
Now, I encourage you to look at this up close, because grain really is kind of like noise, so introducing it will remove some of your detail. And the very, very last thing I want to do here is maybe crop my image. I think of this like color; I want to remove information at the very end, when I'm sure of what I want let go of. So, let's grab my Crop tool, and again, it's just about bringing our focus to the subject matter in the middle. I'm going to pull in a little bit there, and apply my crop, and what's great is what we did with the vignetting followed the constraints of the crop.
So ,there we have it; a little bit of fine-tuning to make our image look that much better.