Last week in Black and White 101, I gave you a list of techniques to keep in mind when you’re shooting images you want to be Black and White. This week, I’m going to show you three editing programs that will switch your photos from color to B&W. Each has different levels of difficulty and customization.
The first is HP Photo Creations. You can download it here. It is the easiest of all the programs, but offers zero customization.
Open up the program and click “create a print.”
In the menu on the left, click on “basics” and then “black and gray.”
At this point you’ll be prompted to add a photo. Once you’ve uploaded your image, click on it in the workspace, select Photo Tint, then Monochrome.
Your finished product will look like this:
The second program is Picasa, which you can download here. Picasa has two options – a basic B&W, and a filtered B&W.
Once you’ve selected your photo, click on effects. For the basic B&W, all you have to do is click “B&W” and you’re done!
Filtered B&W gives you more options.
Once you’ve selected Filtered B&W, click on Pick Color. A color chart appears along with some preselected colors above it. Move your mouse over the colors and watch how your photo changes. When you find the effect you like, select it and hit Apply. When I use Picasa, I like to click on the Red filter. It makes skin tones look like porcelain.
Take a look at how Picasa’s basic and filtered options give different results:
The final editing program is Photoshop. You can download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop here. Photoshop gives the ultimate in editing control, but it is also a much more difficult program in general.
Load your photo, then click Image -> Adjustments -> Black & White:
The color slider box pops up. Move around the color sliders and watch the tones change in your photo.
There’s no magic percentage for each color to get the perfect black and white photo. You have to experiment with each one to discover what strikes you.
When I used Photoshop, this was my final result:
These are just three of the MANY photo editing products out there. What are some of your favorites and why?
Next week is Black And White Photography 103: Printing!
Love black and white… it can also compensate for over saturation and problems with lighting!
I wish you’d use examples with GIMP too
I don’t have GIMP! If anyone has GIMP examples, post links!
I am also dying to figure out how to take a picture of a (lets say) my child and have the background blurry. I have a Canon Rebel and have tried and tried and CANNOT figure it out. I know the portrait setting does some blurring…..but not as much as I’d like.
try shooting AP and make your aperture number bigger. I am not familiar with Cannons on my Nikon I get a little picture that shows me what I am setting it at, not just a number. It’s tricky and depending on your lens you can’t always get it. but at least the practice is fun.
Yep, what Aubrey said. On your Canon it will be the “Av” mode (stands for Aperture Value). You choose the aperture (the size of the hole that lets in light), and the camera will do the rest automatically, like your shutter speed. The lower the number (or bigger the hole…think of it like the iris of the camera), the more blurry the background will be. Your lens probably gets down to a 3.5. Try that and you should find the background very blurry!
Keep in mind that the lower the number, the bigger the hole and more light you are letting in, so it’s easy to over-expose. Keep your ISO as low as possible. Good luck!
The other ladies have great tips. I wrote a bit about it on this post, toward the bottom: http://thespohrsaremultiplying.com/photo/photography-making-eyes-pop/
My trick to remembering how bokeh works is the higher the f-stop is in a photo, the more of it is in focus. The lower the number, the less in focus.
Speaking in terms of the “old” SLR film cameras, the larger the number, the smaller the aperture, or opening in the lens that lets the light in. The smaller the hole, the greater the field of focus. This is just like when you squint to see something – the more you squint, the smaller the hole to see through, the more you are able to see (depending on how good your eyesight is to begin with, of course).
GIMP is free!! I am a total convert after years of Photoshop use.
Also, in Photoshop you can use Image->Adjustmens->and then either ‘Black and White’ or ‘Desaturate’
you *can* use desaturate, but in my experience the image ends up flat. And, desaturating is destructive to the photo, so make sure you save a copy of the original.
on CS5 I just mess with the color slider until I find something that works. Actually, I like Photoshop 8 Elements a bit more for black and white. It’s a little more user friendly. If anyone’s looking for something a step up from iPhoto or the equivalent, check out Elements. At about $90, it’s limited but definitely worth it.
I really like using Lightroom 3 “Creative B&W look 3” Then playing with the sliders to customize it a bit. I have photoshop CS5 also. Just like the ease of lightroom. and smaller image sizes
What’s this “Creative B&W look 3” that you speak of? I use Lightroom as well and don’t think I’ve seen that!
It’s under “develop” and in the “presets” dropdown It’s like the 4th option down. Which Lightroom do you have? I love it. I use it almost exclusively(except I just learned the gloriousness of photoshop actions and now am in Looove)
I use Lightroom. Why? Well because it’s what I have. I really have no idea what I’m doing 99% of the time, but I just mess around with it until I like the way the picture looks. I KNOW there is a ton more I could be doing with it, but I don’t learn “computer stuff” very well…or quickly:)
Also have to say that in color and in B&W, I think that is by far my favorite picture that you’ve ever taken of Annie! Simply stunning!
What lens do you shoot with? Is it just a ‘kit’ lens? I have a 18-55 really want a different one but it isn’t in the budget, thinking about renting one though.
iPhoto is a really simple way to do this too (for those with macs!) in Edit > and then using Effects and Adjustments to get things just right.
What a beautiful photo.
I use Picnik!!