Black / White Tips & Techniques
1. Carry a compact
Use its mono mode to begin seeing how the relationship between different tones works.
2. Shoot in colour
You can convert to black and white later (and go back to colour if things don’t work out).
3. Use the channel mixer
If your software has this feature you’ll find it’s the most flexible way to convert to black and white, but
4. Try different conversions
don’t be afraid to experiment with other methods; using Lab mode separates colours well.
5. Boost the contrast
Use the Levels and Curves dialogs to do this avoid using the Brightness/Contrast options, as they destroy valuable image data.
6. Use hue/saturation layers
If your software doesn’t have a Channel Mixer, this is a great way to change the tonal balance in an image.
7. Dodge and burn
If you want to darken and lighten specific areas of an image, use the Dodge and Burn tools.
8. Add grain
Grain can add atmosphere but don’t use Photoshop’s Film Grain filter on its own (add some Gaussian Blur).
9. Calibrate your printer
It’ll help remove colour casts in your monochrome prints but do it for each paper type you use.
10. Use black-only inks
They’ll give neutral black and white prints. Don’t confuse this with the “black only” output option on your printer, however.