February 12: #BlackandWhiteEdit
My recommendation for Black and White edit is to edit the photograph in color in Lightroom first, then switch it to black and white in Photoshop. The reason for this is, we are so used to seeing color images, that we are more likely to bring out better contrast ratios and play with the light settings more easily in color.
So, we already did our Lightroom portion yesterday, so let's open up our image in Photoshop using the Photoshop file.
Notice how your two layers on the right are still there. Now, let's duplicate the "Background Copy" layer so that we'll have three layers. See previous post on to review how to duplicate layers. When you are done, you should have three layers, the third one being "Background copy 2" like in the image below.
Make sure to have the layer "Background copy 2" highlighted for all of the changes we are going to make today. Then, go up to the Photoshop main menu, select Image, down to Adjustments, and over to Black and White. This will open a window for you, like in the second image below. Note, you will also see your image turn to black and white automatically.
Remember the color version of your image? So does Photoshop. All of the color meters in the new window are corresponding to the original colors in the photograph. Depending on the colors in your image, you'll want to play with the saturation of each color, which in black and white photograph, means you are making that portion of your photograph lighter or darker. Take a look at the differences in my image below after I finished adjusting the saturations of my colors. When you are done adjusting your colors, click OK.
Now I am going to open up my image in Camera Raw Filter, like we did yesterday with our color image. Make the adjustments, you desire. The only thing I am really going to do is increase my Luminance, which smoothes out the image, as when my image was converted to black and white, the background got really rough. I will also push my Whites to -100 and Blacks to +100. See the following two images below, and when you're done, click OK.
Now, you may not have to do this, but for my image, the background, for me, is very distracting. So I am going to blur it out. This means I can do one of two things: I can select what I don't want burned out, copy it to another layer and then blur the whole original layer, keeping the cut out layer on top (confusing right?), OR I can just select the areas I want blurred and use the blur tool. For the sake of making things easier for you, I will do the latter.
The best way to select an area you want to edit is using the pen tool, which can be found in your tool box on the left hand side. If you are selecting a whole side of your photograph, you don't have to be careful around the edges, you can just click points outside your image, just make sure the lines don't cross into your photograph.
The next part is where you have to be careful. I recommend zooming in, which you can do by holding COMMAND and pressing the + key on your keyboard. You are going to want to click points on the edge of the area that you want to blur, which in this case for me, is the side of the water.
Now that you have your area selected, right click (or two finger click the area), and from the menu that shows up, click on "Make Selection...", which will open up another little window. Make sure your feather radius is 0 pixels, and that "New Selection" is bulleted under Operation. Click OK, and now a dotted line will appear where you drew your pen lines. When you see these dotted lines, only what is inside the dotted lines can be edited.
To blur my background, I am going to go to my Photoshop menu at the top of the screen, select the Filter menu, down to blur, and then I'm going to select Surface Blur. Play with these tools if you wish, as each blur tool has a different effect. A little window will pop up. I'm going to set my Radius to 100 pixels, and threshold to 100 levels, as I want my background pretty blurred. You'll always want your Preview box checked, so you can see the changes you are making while you are making them. You can already tell a huge difference in the background between the left and right sides in the second image below.
I am now as happy as I am going to get with this image in black and white. I prefer this image in color, because it definitely loses it's wow factor in black and white. I'm going to go ahead and Save As.. this file and add a B at the end so I don't save over my image, and I know it's a black and white file. Keep the file in Photoshop format the first time you save, and then if you wish, save it as a JPEG as well.
And that is how you edit an image for black and white! Note: You may be able to shoot an image in black and white using settings on your camera. This is also fun to play with, and may save you time in the end if you prefer black and white photography.
Thanks for following along, and tomorrow we will cover overly Saturated editing for those of you who love super bright colors!
Photographer, visual artist, mother to four fur-babies, and travel enthusiast.