Software Can Help Shape Your Vision
Now that we know what makes a good black and white image, let’s talk about actually converting it and working with software to improve your vision. Many years ago, the black and white photographer was completely restricted to developing his or her vision in the darkroom because of film’s sensitivity to light. With the advent of digital photography, this is no longer case. Don’t get me wrong, film will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’ve never been a big fan of working in the dark. Software like Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2 (SEP2) provide powerful black and white conversion tools for today’s digital photographer.
Lightroom and SEP2 both have wonderful presets that allow photographers to quickly convert images to black and white using a click of the button. Some people consider presets to be a little like cheating because it’s so darn easy. But presets allow photographers to efficiently achieve their desired style or vision. I consider presets to be an essential part of my workflow by helping establish a baseline for many of my conversions. If I’m looking for a high key effect, then I’ll use one of SEP2’s high key presets and adjust the settings from there, dialing them in until I reach my desired vision.
Figure 6 Lion preset.