Black and White conversions programs are a dime a dozen. You have the ability to do black and white conversions in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and also in third party software like Silver Efex Pro and Perfect B&W, but if you're just learning how to edit, I always recommend sticking with Adobe Lightroom because of the easy user interface.
LIGHTROOM TONE SECTION
The concepts that I introduce in this tutorial can easily be integrated into other editing platforms, so don't feel that this tutorial is Lightroom specific. First and foremost, it's important to understand the basic functions of the Tone section of Lightroom and how the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks sliders work, along with how they impact your image. Here are some short and sweet notes on how each one changes your photo:
Exposure - Changes the overall exposure of the image. If you want a darker image, drag left. If you want a lighter image, drag right.
Contrast - Simultaneously makes the lightest parts of your image lighter and the darkest parts of your image darker by dragging the slider tot he left. Dragging right brings your darkest parts and lightest parts closer together.
Highlights - Changes the lightest sections of your image, including white.
Shadows - Changes the darkest parts of your image, including black.
Whites - Changes the parts of your image closest to white.
Blacks - Changes the parts of your image closest to black.
THE TRUTH ABOUT BLACK AND WHITE CONVERSIONS
NO TWO IMAGES ARE THE SAME. I mention that because most beginner photographers will read or watch tutorials, then get discouraged when they cannot replicate the concepts introduced. Don't get discouraged. Unless your subject, location, camera, lens, camera settings and lighting matches the tutorial you're watching, your image WILL be different. That's okay. The most effective way to study tutorial videos is to focus on learning the basic concepts introduced and how they apply to your specific image. That's the key to efficiently learning new concepts.
BLACK AND WHITE IMAGE CONVERSIONS ARE SUBJECTIVE. Just like anything else in life, everyone's perspective on what makes a great black and white image will be different. People either love or HATE my black and white conversions. That's okay. In the video above, I purposefully discuss WHY I chose to make specific adjustmentsand how they ultimately effected the image. Learn from my creative direction and use the small sections that you feel benefit you.
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