Friday Favorite – Black and White conversion #1

Hi there!

This week I’m taking a little break from my three-part series on basic camera settings to bring you a Friday Favorite! I thought it might be fun to break things up here and there, and also introduce you to my style.

When I post Friday Favorites, I will be sharing with you a favorite black & white conversion. Being a Film Girl, I’m partial to Black & White photos. I’m going to share with you why I converted the image, what I think worked, and what didn’t work so well. I hope these opinions will help train your eye for what works well in black & white photos and what doesn’t.

Today I’m showing you one of my very first conversions in Photoshop. If you are used to working in a darkroom like me, you’ve probably at some point felt the same dread I once did thinking of Photoshop. If you haven’t already, I’m sure one day you will embrace it 😉 More on that in another post…

Anyway, let’s get to the conversion, shall we? This week my favorite is of my son at about 7 months. Awwww!! I love it, how could I not, look at this cutie!? But in all honesty, here goes –

Why did I convert to Black and white?

I love the overly light background on this photo. I also love the detail in his eyes. Being one of my first conversions, this was simply done out of curiosity. I wanted to see if the light background would bring more focus to his face, or if he would sort of get lost in the fairly even tones.

What worked?

I love the definition of the shadows in Black and White. I think the details in the eyes and hair are more pronounced in B&W and that seems to make the image look sharper to me. I also like that the whites look like more of a true white. You can see in the top right corner of the color photo, that the room we shot in is blue. In color, the blue is giving off a slight color cast making some of the shadows look like more of a blue-gray than a true gray. In this image, I also feel like his skin tone benefited from the black and white conversion very much. It’s a lot more even.

Black and White photography Frederick, MD | black and white photoshop conversion

What did not work?

I’m just not loving the lion in the B&W conversion! Ugh! I love that little lion in color so it was a little disappointing to see him turn out muddy. He made my son so happy for such a long time too, I’m just happy to have a great shot of him with it at least! Anyway, I feel like what went wrong with the lion is the colors are just too similar here. While they are different colors of course, take a look at the tone or depth of the colors. There is not much of a range as far as how intense they are. Had there been more contrast in tones on this little lion, I think it would have converted much better. All the tweaks I tried kept changing the colors fairly evenly so I couldn’t get more contrats on the little lion. Overall, I still love the image though.

So what’s my takeaway? Look for a good tonal range in colors. If the tones are too similar, even when colors are contrasting, you can end up with a pretty muddy looking conversion.