Week Five: Converting to Black and White

There are a lot of different ways in how to make an image black and white and this doesn’t just mean a one click job, although you can just use the ‘black and white’ tool as well as ‘greyscale’, this might not get the best out of your image, so I tried some techniques which give the image an overall better look, I used this image which I took myself for one of the Fashion assignments in Photo Story:

There are four different ways to change the image to black and white, these are greyscale, desaturate, lab desaturate and finally lab colour. Each of these do the same thing but make a small and different effect on the final outcome of the image.

Firstly I started to look and greyscale as this is the easiest procedure out of them all to do, all that is needed to do is ‘Image > Mode > Greyscale’. The image turned out like this:

I then wanted to desaturate the image, this is also a simple process, to do this I used ‘Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.’ The image turned out like this:

The next image alteration also uses the desaturate tool but also entails me to change the colour and also desaturate the image instead of just creating one step. I changed the image to lab colour mode and then used ‘Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.’ This image looks very similar to the one beforehand, but in fact when printed it makes a huge difference, this is because the image is more paper friendly and would make a better print for a newspaper or magazine:

I therefore saved the most detailed until last, this involves working with the lab colour and giving the best results of a black and white image. I first converted the colour to lab colour, this doing ‘Image > Mode > Lab Colour’…

I then needed to choose the ‘Channels’ tab on the side panel and then click on ‘Lightness’. I then selected ‘Image > Mode > Greyscale’ with the Lightness tab highlighted.

When the image is changed back to greyscale, I held the Command button on the MAC and click on the grey tab in the channels area. This creates a selection on the image, I then use the ‘Select > Inverse’ to reverse the selection and this selects everything which was not selected beforehand:

Whilst having this selected I need to create a new solid black fill layer, I do this by doing ‘Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Colour > Black’.

After doing this, the image is normally perceived at a very dark level so therefore I want to try and make it look less dark and not as black so that the image is better viewed. I can therefore use the opacity slider to allow more light into the image and to stop it from looking so glum…

My final image from working with this technique turned out looking like this:

This is the main techniques to achieve a black and white photograph, all of these give great effect and can all be used easily when gotten used to, here I am going to show you the differences between each of the techniques I used above in smaller form…

Original – Greyscale – Desaturate – Lab Desaturate – Layers/Channels

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