B&W conversion walkthrough using Nik Software - Afghan Trader

Started Mar 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
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B&W conversion walkthrough using Nik Software - Afghan Trader
Mar 25, 2012

A few people have been asking, so I'm going to write up some of my processing techniques on a blog soon. After a walkabout this morning I have some new material.

This guy owns a textile shop in Deira, Dubai. A very friendly chap (even if his expression says otherwise), he invited me in to take his photo.

Here's a step by step walkthrough of the conversion process, finishing up in B&W, even though many would stop at colour due to the goods in the shop.

1. Straight out of Camera - 35mm, f8, 1/100th ISO1400

2. After processing the RAW file straight into Photoshop (just minor use of the Recovery slider) I then opened up Colour Efex Pro, using the Pro Contrast preset and adjusting the sliders down to taste. The subtle result:

3. Then I wanted to make the subject 'pop' just a little. Using Colour Efex Pro again, I applied the Tonal Contrast preset, adjusting the saturation right down from its default +20, and adjusting the Highlights, Midtones and Shadows down from their default +30 to around +10 to +15 to taste. Overdoing this can create a faux HDR look. Similarly applying this to an out of focus background can induce noise and mess with bokeh. Therefore I brushed this onto the previous layer in CS5. This produces a subtle difference, but increases the microcontrast and fine detail, bringind out texture and tone. The result:

4. Then moving into Silver Efex, I created a background Black and White using the Neutral preset. Using control points on the face and then around each eye I lightened subtly. Finally a 85% border - The result:

5. Again, to add a little pop, I used Silver Efex to brush in a High Structure layer for the man. This again adds a little microcontrast and fine detail. The result:

6. Final step was to add a subtle vignette - the final image:

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