Sandy Fales is the face behind the camera at Wild Prairie Photography.
Black and white. Monochrome. I can think of no better way to edit a photo. To me, it brings something added to the frame. Something that color just cannot project. By taking away what is known we open our minds to this whole other area of “fill in the blank”.
My love for monochrome conversions started just shortly after I bought my first DSLR. I was playing around in some editing software and realized how much potential black and white had. More notably, I noticed how it made me feel. With color, you get the beautiful tones and reality of what was happening. The concrete of where you were and what was going on; the blue of a beautiful dress, the colors of the trees, the golden hair of a little girl. Color can certainly bring something to the table.
But… take that same photo, convert it to monochrome, and watch as your eyes and brain dance a dance of wonder and curiosity. You notice all the small details. All the wonderful shadows, lines and creases. You can bring out the gorgeous freckles on your daughters cheeks and nose in a way color just can’t replicate. Emotion just flows through, uninhibited. It’s almost as if you can feel it radiate to your soul. It can take a photo that is already amazing and turn it into a timeless one, nostalgic if you will.
Converting to monochrome is fairly simple. I use Lightroom for most of my editing. You can change the “treatment” tab to black and white and you are off to a great start. I really enjoy moody edits so I generally drop my exposure down a bit. I move the Blacks slider to the left until I like the way it looks, move the Highlights slider to the left until I get the amount of detail I want, pull up my Shadows a tad by moving that slider to the right and give it a boost of Clarity at the end. You can tweak a monochrome photo in a lot of different ways to get your desired effect. Just play with the sliders (on whatever program you have) and eventually you will find a look that moves you!