Easy Black & White Photos In Lightroom!

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I love creating black and white photos!  I just do!  I think they tend to draw your eye to what’s important in a photo, the emotions, the eyes, the STORY!  Sometimes though, it isn’t so easy to make them turn out the best!  When cruising the internet I tend to see some pretty drab, gray, and dreary black and whites.  Nothing kills me more than to see a child, especially a new born, with such gray skin that they look more deceased than sleeping.  I know! Morbid! But it does happen!  Let me walk you through how I changed this photo.

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This is my photo straight out of the camera.  Not so bad, a little on the dark side maybe but nothing too far from normal.  I wanted the viewer to really pay attention to their interaction.  Their gaze with one another.  Let me tell you how I dressed it up to make that happen!

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First I started by hitting the Black & White button in the Basic menu under the develop tab!  YUCK!  THIS is a GREAT example of a BAD black & white in my opinion.  It’s dark, grey, dull, and the girls look sick and ashey!  BLAH!

So I set out to change  a a few things.  I like my black & whites to be bright, with strong blacks and pretty good contrast.  So those are the sliders I tackled first.  I increased the exposure to 1.89… that’s quite a bit! I added a touch of fill light at 8 and I upped the blacks a tad to 9.  Then I attacked the brightness and bumped that right up to 68!  I told you like things bright!  Unfortunately this make their white shirts a bit too neon… if white can be neon!  So I slid the recovery slider to 34.  That helped a lot!  Contrast was next on my list and I slid that to 62.  Here… you can see my settings yourself!

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There was still ONE thing that bothered me though.  The beautiful girl on the right… her face as still just a bit too dark for me.  Take a look!

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I took my brush and selected the built in brightness brush and light went over her face!  I liked the result much better! Take a look!

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Every photo is of course slightly different.  While I love presets I usually have tweak everything no matter what.  The settings I shared with you are typical of the settings I usually adjust when creating black and white photos.  Play around with yours to see what impact they have on your photos!

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