Using the Basic Panel
Let's review using the Basic panel to convert your image to black and white. I'm going to convert an image that I like in color but I think will work well in black and white, too. First I'll create a virtual copy of the image by pressing Ctrl (PC) or Command (Mac) plus the apostrophe key. The virtual copy will be the thumbnail in the Filmstrip with the bottom corner turned over (Figure 4.11).
Figure 4.11 Create a virtual copy for images that you wish to have in color and black and white.
Next, I'll convert to monochrome using Black & White in the Basic panel. There are several schools of thought on converting an image using the White Balance setting in the Basic panel. Some people like to make all the adjustments to the image while it's in color, and others prefer to convert the image to black and white, then make the adjustments. I tend to do the latter, since I've already made most of my adjustments in camera. I feel that by converting the image up front I get a better feel for its overall aesthetics while adjusting its white balance (Figure 4.12).
Figure 4.12 I prefer to convert my image to black and white before making changes to its white balance.
The Auto Tone setting is a good place to start when you first begin correcting image exposures. It will automatically adjust Exposure, Recovery, Fill Light, Blacks, Brightness, and Contrast settings. Many times it will create a nice starting point, and we can tweak as needed.
Occasionally, though, Auto Tone can make erratic adjustments. Don't worry—if this happens and you don't like the result, simply undo the last move by clicking Alt (Option on a Mac) and Reset Tone in the Basic panel, or go back to your history and click on the previous setting.
Slide the Temp and Tint sliders to adjust an image's white balance while reviewing the effects in the main window. I typically try to work the Temp slider first, then the Tint slider, until I get the desired effect. In the case of Figure 4.12, I wanted to darken the sky and lighten the rocks. I was able to achieve my goal by decreasing Temp and increasing Tint.