Black & whites

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by jemmy, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, was hoping you talented pros :hail: might be able to share with me your own special little secrets to taking a GREAT black and white shot. I have been trying ridiculously hard but find mine looking very grey and unappealing. I love the rich tones but am admittedly struggling to achieve them xx (if it helps, i've posted several bodgey b&w examples in portraits and an example of what i want to achieve is :hail: Elsapets b&w wedding tones?!!) Any advice/ how to's/tricks of the trade are MOST WELCOME :heart:
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    It sounds like they are low in contrast. You need good a good black point and white point. If you are talking digital, I think learning to use the levels and curves functions in Photoshop is pretty much essential to getting good tones. The same goes for choosing the right contrast filters/papers and developing times in the darkroom.

    Also, learning how to convert from color to b&w using the channel mixer. Selective adjustments using masked curves is good too.
     
  3. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks mark, i have tried most of your suggestions, bar the "selective adjustments using "masked curves" as i'm not sure how to do this. I do convert using channel mixer, making sure all 3 numbers add to 100? I always muck around with levels, curves and contrast but still cant get that great image... i should perhaps do a course hey?! xx So, the good black & white point is obviously there when you shoot, it's strength(wc?)
    depends on how you play in PS is that right? Thanks heaps for your reply. I have so much to learn and am as keen as mustard!!!!!!!! xxx
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    You use levels to set the black and white points. They determine the range of contrast for the whole image. When you have true black and true white, you have the full contrast range possible. You can then play with the relative contrast between specific areas or within specific tonal ranges using curves.

    Levels: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/levels.htm
    Curves: http://www.thegoldenmean.com/technique/curves1.html
    Masked Layers: http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/pselements/ss/adjustmentlayer.htm

    Working with adjustment layers is great, because you can go back and make a change without having to redo everything. Even the color->b&w conversion can be an adjustment layer, so you can go back and try a different color mix without having to redo all the other adjustments (and yeah, the colors usually should add to 100).
     
  5. RoRoCo

    RoRoCo TPF Noob!

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    You may want to also try playing with tinted b&w convertions as well just for the hell of it. You would be surprised how much contrast you can pull out by applying a bit of color before converting to B&W...

    Applying a bit of red will darken greens in the foliage...blues will darken skin tone...etc...

    If you want to see what I mean...download Picasa from google. It is a great free image manager that has a few editing tool. One of them is Tinted B&W.

    Let me know what you think....
     
  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  7. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    That's pretty much the same thing as using the channel mixer. I often use from 80% red and 20% green to full 100% red, which is like using a deep red filter.
     
  8. hobbes28

    hobbes28 Incredible Supporting Member

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    I'm another channel mixer user. The easiest way is to just open it up and mess around with the different percentages and see what works for you. Keep in mind that you need to total 100% for the red, green and blue or it will be over/under exposed.
     
  9. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In my experience the 100% values should be used as a rough guide..... you can go either side of this, depending on the image.......... the effects are similar to using the red, green and blue values as colour filters when using black and white film. ;)
     
  10. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

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    While using Channel Mixer, my equation usually is 60-40-0, coupled with the Brightness/Contrast tool.

    But I prefer to desaturate and fiddle with the Contrast/Brightness while in the Adobe Camera Raw. After importing the image to Photoshop, I'll fine tune it with Shadow/Highlights and a bit more Brightness/Contrast to get the look that I'm after.

    If there are hundreds of images (read weddings) I'd use the Kubota action.
     
  11. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I'd stay away from the Brightness/Contrast tool and use curves instead. From what I've read, B/C can lose data. Curves will usually keep tones distinct from each other, even if they get really close. B/C can make two separate tones become one. Once that happens, you lose the distinction between them. The Curves tool also gives you more control over where in the tonal range the contrast is and how it behaves.
     
  12. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    yea i agree with this........ usually a small 'S' shape in the curves adjustment box will give you all the contrast you need...... i used to use B/C alot but dont really touch it nowadays.
     

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