Black and White is the new Black (and White)

June 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Although technical advances in digital photography move at an astonishing rate with higher resolutions, better focussing algorithms, faster and cheaper memory etc etc there is still something to be said about good old fashioned Black and White images.

Just like how people prefer vinyl to digital there is a lot of nostalgia bought forward by converting an image to Black and White.

But there is still a certain art form into creating a good Black and White image and the main thing to remember is that it is not just a matter of removing the colour from an image as this is done too often and it can result in creating a flat 'muddy' image.

Removing colour from an image is known as desaturating which is a lot different from converting an image to Black and White or Grayscale as it should be known as there are many many levels between black and white.

A lot of photo applications will convert an image rather than desaturate and will do a good job of it but it is worth trying out different techniques to get a really great image.

I am by no means an expert and a lot of my conversions have no science behind them but just trial and error until I get an image I like the look of.

With anybodies work, somebody else will see it differently and will probably decide their way of doing it is better but that is what makes us all unique.

Below are some examples of my work compared to a desaturated image and hopefully you will be able to see the differences.

I will put the original colour image, then the desaturated image and finally the converted image. Where possible I will explain the differences.

The first set of images is from Silverstaone Classic Media Day

Colour ImageEdited image in colour

The image above is the edited colour image.

Desaturate ImageNotice how colours seem dull and flat

The image above is the first image but with saturation decreased to zero, notice how the B&W looks flat and dull  B&W Converted ImageNotice how the silver stands out more. Main changes were increasing clarity reducing highlights and raising shadows.

This final image has had clarity increased, highlights lowered and shadows increased as well as adjustments done on each separate colour.

Notice how it looks much sharper and more silver than gray.

The next set of images are much more subtle.

They are of published model Amber Tutton

Original Colour ImageEdited colour image

This first image is the edited original.

Desaturated ImageThis is the first image with saturation reduced to zero

This is the first image with saturation reduced to zero. I would still use this but the B&W is slightly flat

B&W Converted ImageThis is the original image but with contrast bought down slightly and the various colour levels modified

This is the original image but with contrast bought down slightly and the various colour levels modified, you should notice that the tones are slightly clearer although it is difficult to tell on this resized image.

Finally is an older image of Gemma Bortolozzo from a studio day

Original edited imageThis is the original edited image This is the original edited image

Desaturated imageThis is the original image with saturation dialled down to zero. This is the original image with saturation dialled down to zero.

B&W Converted ImageNotice how the skin areas are brighter and you can see more in the shadows. Again the B&W mix of different colour levels were adjusted

Notice how the skin areas are brighter and you can see more in the shadows. Again the B&W mix of different colour levels were adjusted

 

Hope that helps with giving an idea of playing with your Grayscale conversions rather than just clicking convert to B&W

Happy Converting!

Darren

 


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