What makes a good B&W (plus a little C&C)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by indeedies, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    When I was taking these shots this afernoon I was thinking of a series of B&W images that I might be able to give to the parents. It was an overcast day, grey rocks, murky water, grey shirt, and not much color anywhere else. When I got home I saw these three pics and thought they had the most potential out of the bunch so I started playing in Light Room (I have the Beta version right now). For some reason they don't have the punch I was expecting or anticipating. Any ideas? Are the photos themselves good enough to put into B&W?

    Thanks for the help,
    Shawn
    [​IMG]

    2.
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    3.
    [​IMG]

    And are these blurry to you guys? In LR they were tack sharp and now I'm seeing softness. Thoughts???
     
  2. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    #3 looks good.
    #2 looks like the focus is just in front of the boy. Look at the rocks at his feet.

    #3 is the strongest image here, although you could crop a little off below his feet.

    They all may be a tad underexposed. There is no real "white" in any of the images.
     
  3. anm90

    anm90 TPF Noob!

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    The softness can be from the smaller size, compressed photos that are hosted online. I don't personally think they were overly soft but that's just me. For black and white photos, these look pretty gray and flat to me. B&W photos should be just that. Black, and white. Play around with the contrast sliders and whatnot to see if you can get some pure blacks and pure whites. Not every scene will have pure whites but I think a B&W is always better if it has pure blacks in it.

    With #1 and 2 you will probably only need to change the contrast a little bit but #3 is the flattest to me. The best thing you can do is just fiddle around with the sliders. Usually it's pretty easy to see what makes the image just begin to pop and what makes it look bad/overdone.
     
  4. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    This is why I come here. My parent, family, and friends just tell me how amazing I am :lmao:. Thanks Bitter for pointing out the focus issue. I also forgot that this is the first time I've shot in RAW and have to adjust the sharpness. When converting to a JPEG though from LR though I'm losing that sharpness. I made some corrections to that you guys pointed out but am only able to show the adjustments to the B&W. It's not sharp when I open it up in Office Picture Manager. Any ideas why this might be? I think I may become a fan of this RAW thing if I can figure out how to convert properly lol
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The key to making B&W images 'pop' is contrast and tonal values.

    Getting that contrast and a good range of tonal values is what makes making good B&W images much harder than making good color images.

    The methdology you use converting from color to B&W has a lot to do with how much control you will have over the contrast.

    Just desaturating to grayscale leaves little contrast and tends to pack the tonal values closer together.

    One method is to adjust each of the 3 main color channels: red, green, and blue (RGB). That, coupled with some judicious dodging and burning can make a more than acceptable conversion.

    Better still is to adjust the tonal values connected to more than just 3 colors, which is what a Photoshop CS4 B&W adjustment Layer allows.

    There is other software out there that is dedicated to B&W conversion.
     
  6. matfoster

    matfoster TPF Noob!

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    use URAW for the RAW exposure, color temp, linearality tweaks..then export into GIMP for levels,unsharpmask (or wavelet sharpen even better - sharpens luminance only) and a good channel-mixer conversion to B&W (also check out gimpguru.org tonemaps for selenium,platinum, silver toning etc).
     

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