Black-and-white conversion is an art, and the art is in determining how each color is rendered in black and white. Say you have an image of a beautiful landscape with a deep blue sky full of fluffy clouds. When we convert that to black and white, the blue sky loses its color. Now, I have a question for you: How will the blue areas look in black and white? Will they look light gray? Dark gray? White? Or maybe light gray with a slight gradient of dark gray? Making these decisions for how each color will be rendered is what makes black-and-white conversion fun.
Nothing beats window light. It’s broad, diffuse, indirect, soft light that’s flattering to anyone in its path. But what do you do when the sun has set, there is no window or Mother Nature isn’t cooperating? With the right tools and techniques, you can re-create it. I’ve seen this sun-drenched looks-like-daylight-but-isn’t look used often in Gap ads. The light created for these images has the open, airy quality you get from daylight streaming in through a large window. It’s perfect for Gap’s brand. I’ve always loved this quality of light and wanted to use it in my own work. How they did it was the big question mark.
Most great documentary photos are the result of preparation, time and relationships. Street photography isn’t about luck; it’s about forcing chance. It’s not enough to have a camera on you. You need to go out of your way, get up early for the sunrise and stay up late for the action. Sometimes you might stand in the rain for hours on some street corner because the reflections are nice and it’s a great backdrop, but you have to wait for the right kind of protagonist to appear and complete the scene.
Photographers often find themselves torn between the color version of their edit and a black-and-white conversion of the same shot (you even see photographers post both versions on social media, asking their followers which one they prefer). This is almost certainly indicative of a photographer making the unfortunate mistake of not having a complete vision for a shot up front. While you can convert an image to black and white arbitrarily and find success with it, I find far more consistent results when you set out to shoot monochrome from the start. But where do you start?
Whether you are shooting for grayscale or converting images due to horrible mixed lighting, you need a good workflow for black-and-white editing. Capture One Pro 10 has made it simple to do a large majority of your black-and-white editing without the need to edit in another software or plugin. This article show you how to use the presets, styles and tools of Capture One to make your black-and-white editing not only easier, but prettier.