National Black and White Friday
When Rick Sammon (http://ricksammon.com/) asked me to be a Guest Blogger for his ‘National Black and White Friday’, I was in! Not only am I a big fan of Rick’s, I am also a big fan of black and white photography. My software of choice to easily convert color into dramatic black and white images, is Silver Efex Pro 2.
I began by using this image of a young baboon that I photographed in Kenya last year. I felt this image could be more dramatic by emphasizing the lines of the branches and to try to focus the viewer’s eye more towards the subject.
When I opened Silver Efex Pro 2, the first thing I did was to look at the Preset thumbnails on the left panel of the interface window. By clicking on the different Presets, this offered a quick and easy method to give me some creative ideas on how to work this image. I selected ‘035 Antique Plate I’ since this gave me solutions to my initial concerns about this image. This particular Preset offered a bit of Structure to help add texture to emphasize the branches, and a nice, dark Vignette, to pull the viewer’s eye to my subject. I also liked the Sepia tone.
Even though I selected a Preset that pretty much lived up to what I was looking to accomplish for this image, I decided to add a few Global Adjustments. By moving the Highlights slider to the right, I was able to increase the Brightness in the lighter areas of my image. Increasing the Dynamic Brightness slightly also helped to separate the tonality within my image without adding too much contrast and keeping the detail.
Here is another image that I took in Africa of a running giraffe. The background is a bit too busy and with tall animals such as this, the landscape ends up cutting across his neck, and this is distracting. I wanted to find a solution that would help separate my subject from the background.
Again, I went directly to the Presets in Silver Efex Pro 2 and tried out a few to see if there was one that would fit my needs. I stopped at ‘Preset 007 High Key 1’ because I noticed that this made the background much softer and less busy.
Preset 007 High Key 1
I wanted to emphasize and bring forward the giraffe a bit more. By using Control Points in the Selective Adjustments section, I could add extra Contrast to the spots on the giraffe and separate him from the background.
Here is the final image:
Silver Efex Pro 2 came through again for me! Whenever I have an image that needs more drama and impact, I can quickly select a few Presets to get an idea of the direction I want to go in, and then I can choose to add Global and/or Selective Adjustments.
As the Education Product Manager at Nik Software and now a Product Specialist on the Google+ Photo Team, I continue to enjoy sharing tips and hearing the wonderful feedback on Silver Efex Pro 2 that we receive from photographers around the world.
Check out Rick Sammon’s Website for information on his upcoming workshops, Apps and coupons: http://ricksammon.com/