B&W Conversion / Filter Effects

Sepia Toning after BW Conversion.

Sepia Toning after BW Conversion.

Effectively new images can be created by converting images to black and white. Photoshop provides a lot of control for this process under Image/Adjustments /B&W with individual sliders for  reds/yellows/greens/cyans/blues and magenta colours. In addition a tint can be added e.g. sepia enabling this option provides further control of hue and saturation. There are also a wide range of commercially available plug ins for Photoshop

Lastly this menu has some pre-set filter options to mimic the classic manual filters used in traditional film photography.  e.g. High Contrast Red which will have the effect of improving the contrast in the image, darkening blue skies. The combination of these tools allows precise control of contrast and tonal range in an image in the conversion process – this in addition to all the other Photoshop controls such as levels which can help ensure there is a definite black and a definite white in the finished image – a full range of tone being considered essential in any competitive evaluation of B&W imagery.

A classic darkroom technique is to darken the top of a landscape image with an open sky to hold the viewers eye in the image – creating a pseudo frame effect on the image. This for example was routinely done by Bill Brandt – considered a master of B&W printing. Images can be further enhanced to give “depth” to an image by creating layers in the image by selectively dodging and burning areas of the image.

Default B&W conversion

Default B&W conversion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image above is the default conversion settings, image below is same image with selective burning of lighter areas to give greater depth and hold viewers eye.

Selective burning

Selective burning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The works of master B&W Landscape photographers such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston illustrate the power of B&W images with the focus on form and composition or the selection of particular textures such as trees or tree details in an image rather than overwhelming the viewer with vivid colour at the expense of detail.

Sample Images here : B&W Conversion

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