The Best and Worst Ways to Make Your Photos Black & White

The Best and Worst Ways to Make Your Photos Black & White Hello everyone Chris here from Spoon Graphics Today's video isn't necessarily a tutorial as such, but it's more of a guide to a bunch of techniques for making black and white images, which is especially handy for all you Photography lovers out there

Black and white photography has been popular since people very first began to capturing moments with cameras Originally it was because you didn't have any other choice, but even when colour film was widely available, monochrome images allowed photographers to capture scenes with much deeper moods and atmospheres Even with the high tech cameras of today, you still can't beat the nice tones of a black and white photo But rather than shoot onto monochrome film, we now use digital software to alter the appearance of the image There's a range of tools you can use, that all provide different results

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They all effectively make an image black and white, but some do it much better than others, so in today's video I'll give you the best and worst ways to make your photos black and white So let's start with the worst ways first These are the techniques you'll definitely want to avoid in favour of the better options we'll discuss later Desaturate Desaturate, under the Image > Adjustments > Desaturate option, or the Hue/Saturation slider in Photoshop is often the first tool people reach for to make an image black and white Sure it does the job, but the difference is it just removes the colour without taking into consideration the tones of an image

The result is a washed out picture where a red and a blue might just look the same shade of grey Grayscale Another common mistake Photoshop users make is to convert their image to Grayscale This destructively edits your photo and discards all the colour information It also results in a boring washed out appearance Photoshop even gives you a warning saying: Are you sure you really want to do this? Shoot in black and white Most cameras have the option of shooting the image in black and white to begin with, but there's no reason to use it

You'll have more options to play with when converting the image in post processing, rather than being stuck with whatever the camera gives you There's also the plus side of having the option of saving a separate full colour photo too! So with those bad practices out of the way, let's take a look at some of the best techniques you can use to create dark, powerful black and white photos Channel Mixer The Channel Mixer is the classic black and white conversion tool It allows you to target each colour spectrum individually to carefully adjust and balance the tonal range to find the best contrast in your shot Apply the Channel Mixer as an Adjustment Layer to avoid permanently editing your image, then check the Monochrome option

You can then move the red, green and blue sliders for each channel to boost the contrast just the way you want it by darkening or lightening specific areas like the sky Keep an eye on the total levels though, if you exceed 100% it means you’re blowing out some of the whites Black and White The Black and White adjustment layer has been around since Photoshop CS3 which pretty much replaces the Channel Mixer It has the same controls as the channel mixer, but with even more colour sliders and additional options like the ability to add a tint for a classic sepia effect or cold horror movie vibe There's a range of presets you can choose from to mimic old school lens filters, or you can adjust the tones of the image directly by checking the click and drag option

B&W Mix So far we've only touched on Photoshop tools, but an equivalent to the Black and white tool in Photoshop is Lightroom's B&W Mix options It features even more colour sliders to allow you to target the tones to an even finer extent Gradient Map The final technique for converting an image to black and white is the use of a Gradient Map This technique doesn't give you the professional control of the channels like the other tools, but it results in unique effects that can add to the impact of your photos After adding a Gradient Map adjustment layer, edit the colour selections of the gradient bar

You can choose a simple 2 colour gradient such as pure black and pure white, or unusual selections like a dark blue and creamy yellow for more of a toned look The Gradient Map will replace all the tones in the image with an equivalent colour selection from the gradient spectrum Adding multiple steps in the gradient allows you to create really cool effects that add different hues to certain parts of the tonal range to make your pics the hottest on Instagram So I hope you find these tips for converting your images to black and white useful If you did a thumbs up to help spread the word would be really appreciated, or a share with your friends on Twitter or Facebook if you think my videos are worth watching

If you're new and you want to stick around yourself, be sure to hit the subscribe button on YouTube, or you can check out my website at spoongraphics for plenty of written articles tutorials and free design resources So as always thank you very much for watching and I'll see you in the next one

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