B&W tip

Have you ever thought that a nice black and white photo was very worth looking at?

That is because in B&W we do not get distracted by colour: we see the pure image. A photo is composition + moment + light, and in some cases colour just distracts from that.

So this one-light image, from the other day, is fine:

But this image is simpler, and, I think, more powerful:

Plus… there are fringe benefits. Doing a B&W conversion I can selectively increase or decrease colour channels. And by slightly, every so slightly increasing red, orange and yellow, I can:

  • Fill in shadows;
  • Make skin even smoother;
  • Increase the brightness of teeth.

Now of course a teenager needs none of these, but you can nevertheless see this is a better image:

And this only took a few seconds in Lightroom, which has en excellent B&W conversion tool.

And we do this in Lightroom, not in the camera, because  that way:

  1. It saves time;
  2. We can change our minds;
  3. We can do a selective per-channel conversion as described above;

When you shoot B&W, do feel free to set the image style to B&W on your camera if you shoot RAW (because in that case you are still saving all colours; it is only the preview that is shown in B&W), but see that preview just as a rough idea and convert properly in Lightroom on the computer.

TIP: if you want to see where someone may develop skin issues decades from today, convert to B&W and then pull red up and pull orange down in Lightroom. You wil now see someone with any skin imperfections magnified hundreds of times. I wil not do it to this lovely young lady, but to see the effect, do it to a picture of yourself.


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