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The Black and White Digital Darkroom - part 2 of 1 2 3 4 5 6

by Paul Gallagher Published 01/02/2016


If you decide to convert to black and white using Photoshop, the best way with the most flexibility is by creating a black and a white conversion layer which will present you with the same set of colour sliders in a dialogue box (See image right). I must say at this point that you are just beginning to 'shape' your image into a finished black and white photograph and you should not try to achieve every tonal adjustment at this stage. Also, if you 'push' and 'pull' some of the colour sliders too much you will run the risk of making your image look 'crunchy' by driving colours into clipping.


Contrast and Tones
Even after more than 30 years of making black and white photographs, I have only had a handful of images that have not needed localised adjustments. In the darkroom days we called this 'dodging' and 'burning' which meant we lightened and darkened separate parts of the photograph to bring out the light and tones that we saw when we were out there with our camera. We must remember that a digital camera can only do so much for us and it is up to us to bring out the drama or three-dimensionality of the photograph in the final stages. You can make this process as complicated as you like but what I will set out here are a few basic ideas to follow. If we begin with Lightroom, after we have made our conversion to black and white you will still be in the 'Develop' module using the adjustment brush. When you click on the brush icon a palette will open (See image left).

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1st Published 01/02/2016
last update 25/03/2020 12:33:21

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