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Old 13-09-2016, 16:20   #1 (permalink)
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Settings for Black & White photography

Settings question to all you B&W photographers.

I've been looking at a number of of the Black & White photography pictures and wondered, what do you all use for your Black and White settings?

Is it as simple and desaturating the image and adjusting the levels to suit your taste, or do you have certain settings and steps that you use?

-Mo
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Old 13-09-2016, 16:32   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

Hi Mo. Welcome to Pixalo

The best way of doing black & white is to shoot in colour and then convert in post processing. There are no special camera settings to use.

Your camera will likely have a black and white mode, but your results will be better shooting in colour then converting the colour image.
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Old 13-09-2016, 16:53   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

When I convert to B&W - I use the Google Nik Silver Effect plugin. Its free now too!
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Old 13-09-2016, 18:28   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

Thanks dabhand16 and Chrisa.

I should have been a little clearer in my question. I am interested in the post processing part of converting a color picture into black and white and the steps people are using.

I will check out the Google Nik Silver Effect plugin. Just pasting that into google it looks like there is a whole Nik collection which I'll be sure to look at. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 13-09-2016, 21:52   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

I too use SilverEfex sometimes. More often I use Photoshop's black & white filters - and often using 2 or more versions for different parts of the image - blended using layer masks.
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Old 14-09-2016, 09:27   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

Before I read your question, I'd assumed that you were referring to shutter speeds and apertures! As a black and white film photographer, Photoshop settings never entered my mind. The most important thing to me is ensuring that the colours in the original map into a suitable-for-the-purpose set of grey values. Desaturating is a potential killer of black and white. With film, I use coloured filters to achieve my purpose. In the version of Photoshop I use (CS2) Channel Mixer does the same.

Here's a link to a short article of mine (expanded from the version that appeared in a local magazine).
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Old 14-09-2016, 17:20   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

Stephen, thank you for the link to your article! That explains so much why I've never been happy with turning my photographs into Black and White images using grayscale/desaturate in photoshop. Converting them to Grayscale resulted in exactly the same similar gray color values issues you describe in the article.

This will be huge help. Thank you very much!
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Old 19-09-2016, 11:27   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

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Originally Posted by MacrOrdinary View Post
Settings question to all you B&W photographers.

I've been looking at a number of of the Black & White photography pictures and wondered, what do you all use for your Black and White settings?

Is it as simple and desaturating the image and adjusting the levels to suit your taste, or do you have certain settings and steps that you use?

-Mo
Hello and welcome to this forum Mo. I would prefer converting the image into black and white after taking the shot. I think at post processing step its possible to give the shots better black and white effect.
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Old 23-09-2016, 13:02   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

Welcome to Pixalo Macrordinary,,, I believe there are many methods of conversion. My 1st step is to finish out my color original, save and make a copy of it to start off my trek to the black and whites. I might end up with 2 or 3 copies of these to work with. 1 groups of steps is to just click the black and white box in the raw con version, if you feel you have lost color dynamics you can add saturation from the color saturation in tab 1 and watch the colors very closely. You can go to the Hue,Lum, and Sat tab to try and adjust any change. This all is a very easy first step but needs to be practiced to feel that way. Then number 2, when looks like you are getting something you like, use your copy layer and use a softlight or multiply blend mode and lower the opacity to your liking. I am not known for my color conversions but in some circles my Deep IR conversions have but received very well.
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Old 29-09-2016, 05:30   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

Thank you everyone. This has been extremely helpful. I've been messing with the channel mixer a bunch over the last several days and starting to get an understanding of how to use it better. I appreciate all of the comments, suggestions and advice!
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Old 08-10-2016, 11:36   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

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Originally Posted by MacrOrdinary View Post
Thank you everyone. This has been extremely helpful. I've been messing with the channel mixer a bunch over the last several days and starting to get an understanding of how to use it better. I appreciate all of the comments, suggestions and advice!
You are most welcome
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Old 08-10-2016, 20:33   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

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Originally Posted by StephenBatey View Post
Before I read your question, I'd assumed that you were referring to shutter speeds and apertures! As a black and white film photographer, Photoshop settings never entered my mind. The most important thing to me is ensuring that the colours in the original map into a suitable-for-the-purpose set of grey values. Desaturating is a potential killer of black and white. With film, I use coloured filters to achieve my purpose. In the version of Photoshop I use (CS2) Channel Mixer does the same.

Here's a link to a short article of mine (expanded from the version that appeared in a local magazine).
Just read your artical link, very very nice with such wonderful cross references with the red green and blue contrast section really standing out. Years back when I first started out with my converted infrared 720 nano meter filtered sensor, the only help I could get was from the film community and using contrast filters. They all said that using them on a digital camera had no effect, well I had bought some when I could find them, it was amazing how the stores drop film extras. I just didn't like the white balance that came at conversion. Green grass just added to the search for abetter WB. To shorten this reply I now use an expo disc and take a WB shot at a bright Blue sky 2 hours before the Blue hour at the end of the day. It just works for me. I went this route after using Green Blue and other colors from film cameras. After all the testing a light magenta, and light bright blue would give me best results. Magenta came off the green grass 180 degrees from the sun. The blue came late day off clear sky at 90 degrees, the later gives me the colors I should get. But back to black and white pictures, it all started for me with the articals that were written and finding a happy place of more understanding Photography.
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Old 08-10-2016, 20:39   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

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Originally Posted by Boofers View Post
Welcome to Pixalo Macrordinary,,, I believe there are many methods of conversion. My 1st step is to finish out my color original, save and make a copy of it to start off my trek to the black and whites. I might end up with 2 or 3 copies of these to work with. 1 groups of steps is to just click the black and white box in the raw con version, if you feel you have lost color dynamics you can add saturation from the color saturation in tab 1 and watch the colors very closely. You can go to the Hue,Lum, and Sat tab to try and adjust any change. This all is a very easy first step but needs to be practiced to feel that way. Then number 2, when looks like you are getting something you like, use your copy layer and use a softlight or multiply blend mode and lower the opacity to your liking. I am not known for my color conversions but in some circles my Deep IR conversions have but received very well.
I should have said when referencing "if you feel you have lost color dymanics" add color from tab 1 to the Black and white color picture. Sometimes this adds contrast changing the depth of the orginal color.
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Old 08-10-2016, 22:08   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Settings for Black & White photography

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They all said that using them on a digital camera had no effect
There is a theoretical reason why using a daylight to artificial light filter on a digital camera could give improved results, but not being a serious digital photographer I've never bothered to test it. I suspect that some of Martin Evening's comments on casts in shadows are relevant - but this is all way off topic and if discussed should be in a different thread...
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