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Photoshopping Black & White

by blackandwhitephotography.com
 Although there are many advanced tutorials on Photoshop color digital image conversions available, sometimes the simplest methods are the best.

One of the nicest features of modern digital photography is the easy ability to convert color images to great black-and-white images in what photographers call the “monochrome conversion option.” This means there is no need to shoot digital photos in black-and-white when today’s modern color images can easily be converted to black-and-white in Photoshop or any other similar photo image editing program.

Converting images to black-and-white is an aesthetic decision on the part of the photographer who might have decided that the colors in a full-color image might conflict with one another and distract from the impact and mood of the image, so converting them to black-and-white will reduce any distracting color conflicts. However, there is no hard rule or equation you can use to determine when a particular photograph would look better in monochrome, but thanks to modern digital photography, that is not much of a problem since you can simply make duplicate copies of the original color image, and then experiment all you want with several different black and white versions. 

Although there are many books and tutorials devoted to black and white photography tips using Photoshop, there are a few easy ways to create monochrome conversions in Photoshop that provide good results. In general, the quickest way to convert a color image to black-and-white is to open the image in Photoshop, select Image, then Adjustments, and finally Desaturate, and you will get a quick and easy black and white conversion that usually looks pretty good. Photographers desiring more detailed control over their conversions can use the black-and-white converter in Photoshop. First, they need to duplicate the color version of the image to be converted. The next step is to open the duplicated copy in Photoshop and then use the tools there to correct for exposure and contrast in the photo. The Levels control can be used to lighten the image a bit if the contrasts are too severe. The final steps are selecting the Black & White Adjustment Layer control located at the bottom of the Layers panel, clicking on the black and white circle icon and choosing Black & White. When the mouse is released, the converter will pop up and then click the Auto button on the right side to see exactly what Photoshop will do to the image. In many cases, this simple procedure will deliver very acceptable conversion results. If the overall values of the shadows, highlights, and mid-tones are correct, all the user has to do is click “OK’ and the process will be complete. As stated prior, there are many advanced tutorials available to have more control, or create more detailed and subtle changes to a color image that will be converted to black and white, but for many people, this simple method of conversion might be the best.

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