There was a time all photos were made in black & white. Even when I started my days of photojournalism, we primarily shot, developed, and printed in black and white. Now the default is color and we have to adjust to get the images from a color to a monochromatic version.
But Black and white photography is so much more than stripping away the color.
Great black and white images tend to exploit contrast. The difference between the whitest white and the blackest black is the highest contrast point in the picture and this can be used to draw the viewer’s eye. Good contrast can help add depth and dimension as well. Fortunately an HDR source image can make a superior black and white photo due to the increased contrast range.
Compelling black and white images rely on tone and texture to take the place of color and hue. This can be accomplished in many ways. Remember to use both lighting and HDR techniques to enhance texture. You may also choose to go for a graininess that can be added in post or acquired when shooting by using a high ISO.
If you’re looking to convert to Black and White, here are some great options:
- Develop your HDR image and use one of the Black and White presets in Photomatix as a starting point.
- Use the Black and White adjustment layer in Photoshop to build a grayscale image using the influence of the individual color channels.
- Try the Photographic Toning gradient map presets in Photoshop.
Disclaimer: These are just a few ways to make great black and white images.
Remember to explore the HDR Learning Center for more on High Dynamic Range photography.
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