A 4-Image Gallery: Original, Color Processed, B&W Processed, B&W Processed2
April 24 Update: One of my fellow photographers, Jaime Perez, kindly commented that the tone of my “black & white” photo was more aptly described as “sepia.” And as I looked back at the photo with fresh eyes, he was absolutely right. Jaime was also right that more contrast was needed to separate the two pyramids from the sky, the building behind them, and from each other. I decided to use Jaime’s suggestions to process the photo one more time. Judge for yourselves, in the slideshow and the separate photo below, but I think the more involved process of dodging and burning the two pyramids yielded a much better monochrome result than my original choice of the relatively quick process of split-toning the highlights. Jaime, your comments were spot on and I hope I did them justice. Thanks for being willing to honestly answer my question, “So, what would you do to make it better?”!
Yesterday, I stepped outside my comfort zone and decided to submit my photo to Monochrome Madness, a wonderful challenge hosted by Leanne Cole and Laura Macky, now in its eighth week. The challenge encourages photographers to explore black and white photography.
I’ve never photographed in black and white. But I’m getting fairly comfortable with post-processing and knew I could convert a color photo and process it in black and white. I also had a photo in my archives that I thought would work well for this.
It was such an interesting and fun project for me. Using Lightroom 5, I processed my original color photo to a point I was happy with. Simply turning it into black & white, however, left the photo flat and, to me, uninspiring. And so I set to work playing around with all L5 had to offer.
For those interested, here’s a general description of what I did (if not, feel free to bypass and go to the gallery, below!):
- Increased the exposure, highlights, whites, and blacks.
- Decreased the contrast, shadows, and vibrance.
- Cranked up the clarity, which decreased the shadows on the interior left wall, providing subtle highlights to that portion of the photo.
- Played around with the B&W mix, decreasing all but the blue, purple, and magenta. Increased each of those just a bit.
- Added punch to the shadowed pyramid by using split toning. By choosing a golden hue and increasing the saturation, it gave just the result I wanted, both on the pyramid and on the inside surfaces of the arch.
- A bit of sharpening and some post-crop vignetting.
And as they say in France, voilà!
For fun, I’m including my original no-filter color photo with all its warts and the post-processed version. I certainly have as my goal to one day be able to capture beautiful images right in my camera with only minimal need for processing. But until then, Lightroom is my best buddy!
A request before you look at the gallery: I’m thinking of making a before-and-after post a weekly item on my blog, highlighting one of my pictures from each week. (Before-and-After Friday? No cute alliteration, but at least there are “f’s” in before and after. Show-and-Tell Saturday?) Perhaps I could even use a weekly poll so you could choose which one you’d like me to post? And I probably wouldn’t include as detailed a description of my process. Maybe just a mention of one specific tool or adjustment I used that I think made the most difference in the photo.
Anyway, If you enjoy seeing these images, please let me know your thoughts, yay or nay. I’d even welcome name ideas. I think this could be fun! And by all means, let me know which of the three images you liked more (but hopefully not the original, no-filter one!).