Boost black and white
George Cairns uses a shot’s original colours to create a more effective black-and-white image
Work with the original colours in a photograph to create a more effective blackand-white image in Photoshop
Converting a colour image to monochrome allows the eye to pay more attention to contrasting shapes and textures in the frame. There’s more to it than simply removing the colours from a shot, though – and photographers have been finding ways to alter the tones in black-and-white images since the earliest days of the art. When shooting with black-and-white print film, analogue photographers would place coloured filters over the lens to lighten or darken specific colours in the scene. For example, a red filter would darken skies in black-and-white photos.
You can mimic this traditional filter technique using Photoshop’s Black & White adjustment layer. This features coloured sliders, which enable you to target specific colours within a photograph and lighten or darken them in the monochrome conversion. With just a few tweaks you can turn a flat black-and-white image into one with real impact.