Creating Black-and-White Pictures Fabulous
Black-and-white photos are awesome. They’re dramatic, timeless, and everyone wants at least one in their living room. They also can be a little tricky to make. In this tutorial I will be showing you wonderful people how to make your b&w’s, for lack of a less typical word, “pop”.
As you can see I have two images here. One that is epic and one that did not have its white balance adjusted for outside lighting. I will show you how to get from lame to awesome.
At this point I’m sure you wondering “Cameron black-and-whites aren’t so hard, can’t you just lower the saturation and vibrance?” Alright, let’s try that.
Uh-oh, not as awesome. This black and white image doesn’t look the same as the finished product. This is because creating b&w photos is more complicated than just lowering saturation. Remember that black-and-whites are not just concerned with removing color from the image, but highlighting the lights and darks that are present in the image. So lowering these elements won’t make it look the way you want. Before continuing, return your image to its original state
You won’t actually be making your image b&w in this window. Our goal right now is to exaggerate all the information given to us so that our b&w will pop.
2. So, to do this you’re gonna have to play with things like saturation, vibrance, exposure, blacks, and contrast. Hiking up these variables will give your black and white more information to work with. It’s very clear that I overexposed the hell out of my final piece and if it were in color it would look something like this.
This bright blue overexposed image is, in the art world, what we would refer to as a “hot mess,” which is about what your image should look like. Everything should go far above what it looks like in real life, because life is not black and white. Black and white pictures need a lot of information.
Side note- When editing any photo always watch out for noise. Noise occurs when your ISO setting on your camera is too high. Increasing exposure may bring this distortion to light (puns).
3. Now that you image looks like a circus ad, open it up.
4. Easy part, click the black and white adjustment button.
Doesn’t that look better than just lowering the saturation?
From here, adjust until you are satisfied. I’m not going to go through all of the adjustments done in this photo, because it took me a week of tweaking to finish.
Remember saturation and exposure are you friends!