Black and White Digital Photography – the Casual Photographer’s Approach. In this article I discuss how you can very easily convert colored photographs into great quality black and white photographs using a free software.
Ever try to change your color images to black and white? Black and white digital photography can be tricky or maybe the best word is muddy. Color and black and white digital photography do not translate the same to our eyes. In color images there can be many midtones of pinks, oranges, blues, and in black and white digital photography they will all essentially translate as the same color, thus creating a muddy or flat photos.
However, there are some simple steps one can take to enhance the photos once you’ve changed them to black and white. If you are a high-end user of Photoshop, this article on black and white digital photography is probably not for you, because you already know many different ways to use channels and hue/saturation and the channel mixer to modify your photos. This little guide to black and white digital photography is for the more casual user.
You can create beautiful black and white digital photography whatever software you are using. For the article I’m going to mention Picasa, (it’s a free download from Google), for most of the steps I’m going to show you.
Step one – Converting to Black and White. Black and white digital photography is as easy as clicking on the Effects button and picking whether you want it “black and white” or “filtered black and white” and then clicking on the appropriate selection. Yes, you can undo it back several layers.
Step Two – Building contrast. Contrast is what makes black and white digital photography great. A muddy black and white digital photograph is not one that calls attention. So once you’ve changed your photograph to black and white you will need to analyze it. Go to the tuning section of Picasa and you will be able to adjust Highlights, Shadows and Fill light independent in your photography. This allows you to build contrast. To do striking black and white digital photography you want to make sure that there’s a good range from light/white to dark/black in your photography.
Finding the correct setting is really a matter of playing with the sliders. Shadows darken the darks. Highlights lighten the highlights and Fill Light will lighten the darks without affecting the lights. If you’re the experimental type, you can type different settings and print them to see which one you like better. Remember, in black and white digital photography you are adjusting for contrast. Lay out the different prints and see which one draws your eye first.
Step Three – Cropping. Once you have your photo adjusted the way you want it, now it’s time to crop. Come in close. Cropping gives your photos drama. You can try several different versions of your crop too. To get the most drama from your black and white digital photography try coming in closer than you ever thought would work. Move the cropping around and spend some time just looking at the possibilities. You may be surprised with what you can create in black and white digital photography.
And, you can translate these instructions on how to do black and white digital photography to almost any digital photography software. The words may not be totally the same, but they will be close. With Adobe Photoshop you can make even finer adjustment by selecting different sections of your photograph and adjusting them separately.