Black & White

Today I took a very ordinary color photograph and using various methods in Photoshop CC made three very different monochrome images.

Here is the original color photograph…

Barnes from a river boat

This was shot using a Canon Rebel XSi and a Sigma APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM lens.  1/500 sec at f7.1

I then loaded this image into Photoshop CC.

Firstly, I increased the contrast using Curves.

Then I added a Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer. I checked the monochrome box,  and then using the sliders I set Red to -74%, Green to +179% and Blue to -5%. I adjusted the Constant to -4 to darken the image slightly overall.  I saved the image as a Tiff (and also as a JPG for display on this site).

By the way, I use 16 Bit as my default in Photoshop.

Here is the result…

Barnes in B&W
Barnes Riverside

Next, starting back with the original color image, I opened it in Camera Raw, and choosing the HSL/Grayscale option, I checked the Use Grayscale box, and used the Auto values. I then opened the resulting monochrome image in Photoshop. Using Curves I boosted the contrast somewhat. Then I added a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer and deepened the blacks a little more. Finally I added some Unsharp Mask. The result is shown below…


For the third variation I opened the color image in Photoshop, and then added a Black & White Adjustment Layer.  The beauty of this type of layer is that it allows you to actually ‘paint’ the tones you want onto the image; you cursor left to darken a particular tone, and right to lighten it. You can do this as many times as you wish anywhere on the image.

This image is show below…

Barnes in B&W

As you can see, you have many ways in Photoshop to arrive at a Black & White image. Why not just use the B&W setting on my camera you may well ask?

If you do that, you can never revert back to a color image as there wasn’t one to start with! By shooting in color, you retain all the information from the start.

One thought on “Black & White”

  1. Good presentation. Looks like you’re cranking up your photography output even more. I like all the candid shots re: buses, routes, etc. BUT all are driving on the wrong side of the road.
    You should point that out to them.LOL.

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