Technical stuff - hints and tips
Here are some hints and tips we've picked up along the way, all designed to improve your photography.
Converting to black and white - should I or shouldn't I?
• a full tonal range, black to white
• muted colours or shades of grey
• odd colours, or colours that don’t go together
Tip: If you squint your eyes while looking at your image, you will see less of the colour and more of the tonal range. This can be good for getting an idea of if your image has good tonal range.
To convert a colour image to B&W, you could just convert your image to greyscale. In the menu bar along the top of the screen, go to “image”, choose “mode”, and change the colour profile to “greyscale”.
Don’t ever do this! You are effectively throwing away all the colour information in the image file. If you keep this information, there are a number of (much better) ways of converting to B&W which use this colour information to produce a superior result. Here's my favourite. I’m assuming you’ve got Photoshop open and your image displayed, and I’m going to make this adjustment using an adjustment layer.
1. In the menu bar along the top of the screen, go to “layer”, choose “new adjustment layer”, then “black and white”. Hit “ok”. Your image is converted to black and white using Photoshop’s default settings.
2. Now, in the pane on the right side of the screen you’ll see six sliders. Just above this, next to where it says “black & white”, there’s a little drop down box that says “default”. If you open it up, there are a number of settings: “blue filter”, “darker” etc. See what happens as you apply each setting. Photoshop is using the colour information in the image file to emphasise the tone of various colours, depending on the setting you apply.
3. Choose the one you like.
4. Alternatively, have a play with the sliders and see what effects you get.
5. Finally, as ever, "save as" a different file name.