Sunday, January 2, 2011
Black and White
I recently converted a bunch of Burning Man portraits from color to Black and White for printing. Originally, I thought these portraits would work best as color, since so many of the folks at Burning Man are literally colorful people. But the power of the Black and White really brought home the impact of the portraits. My professor in Digital Printing, Ryan Farnau, really impressed upon me the fact that a black and white image gives more freedom of interpretation by the artist. Since, by definition, a Back and White is not realistic, then the print can stress the parts of the photo with the greatest impact. In this example, I will go through the steps of one of the more complicated conversions I did. Starting with the color image and going step by step until the final B&W image. Here is the original image. I shot this in natural light. I had a silver canopy tent set up with a white seamless background.This version is still a little dark so I boost the exposure and brightness.That completes the global adjustments. I would like this to pop more, so I darken the leather in the vest and increase the contrast in the metal "S" shapes. I also boost the contrast in the glasses to make the reflections whiter. Now the conversion to Black and White using the B&W adjustment layer. Now for the final image I darken the tattoos, the wrist bands and the contrast in the hat. Now it pops!Of course, the whole thing took several hours. Selections and adjustments take a long time. Each adjustment gets its own layer in Photoshop, so it is easy to turn them off and on and go back to the original. You can see set of Burning Man portraits on my Flickr page by clicking here. I left some color photos in the set. They still looked better in color.