May 20, 2018

Black & White Photography: Converting your Photo

 

Rock Creek Lake | Photographer Francois Swart

Rock Creek Lake | Photographer Francois Swart

My first blog post for 2014! A new year and my quest for photographic excellence continues. My wish is that you will take the journey with me.

Black & White photos has a unique place in the art world, and also in photography. It allows more room for interpretation than the color photo.

Earlier today Kevin La Rue (V.P. Marketing for MacPhun Software) and I discussed black and white photography and the ways of converting your existing photos to black and white. I immediately decided that this is a good topic for discussion.

There are several ways to convert your image to black and white, but let’s first start with what NOT to do. NEVER capture your photo in black & white in camera. The color channels will be lost, and that will limit your ability to get the best possible black & white photo – and isn’t that what you want?

Not all photos will grant itself to black & white. When you capture the photo, you may visualize this phenomenal, mind blowing, black & white image. And when you look at it afterwards, you realize that you misjudged the opportunity completely. Maybe it is a great color image, but it is not the same in black & white. If you took the photo as black & white, you cannot convert it back to color afterwards (unless the photo was taken in RAW). The opposite is true for a color photo.

Another advantage of converting the color photo to black & white, is that all the color channels are still available for fine tuning. I.e. you can darken or lighten the blue sky by adjusting the blue channel, or dramatize the contrast in the clouds without effecting any other color (i.e. greens, reds, and yellows) in the photo.

How to evaluate a scene for a black and white photo is a subject to be discussed on its own, and I will get to that in a future post.

I randomly selected this image for conversion. I deliberately did not use Photoshop to do the black & white conversion, as the software is not readily available to everyone. In the stead, I used MacPhun Intensify Pro. It is quite powerful and is available at $59.99.

I have been testing it for some time now, and I must admit that I stand amazed at the possibilities.

It comes with a preset bundle, and then you can use the adjustments to tweak the settings to perfection. If you like the adjustments you made, you can save it as a new preset. How cool!

The photo was taken up above, from Rock Creek Road at Rock Creek Lake in the Inyo National Forest, Mammoth Lakes.

 

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