Photographer Chris Clor takes you behind the scenes in his digital darkroom as he transforms an image from humdrum color to stunning black-and-white.
Step 2: Turn It B&W
Photoshop’s built-in Black & White tool works best on an Adjustment Layer.
Duping the background layer is Clor’s next step and it should be yours, as well. Start your retouching on the duplicated layer; he’ll often get rid of an errant telephone pole or a sensor spot he missed in ACR. For this shot, Clor couldn’t help but capture the corner of a roof in the bottom left of the photo (you can see it in Step 1). So he cropped it out.
Then it’s time for black-and-white conversion, which Clor does simply with Photoshop’s built-in tool on an Adjustment Layer. His trick for using it efficiently? Somewhat counterintuitively, he does not use it to create contrast or drama, which can produce banding later. Instead he nudges the sliders to emphasize the difference in tones. Here, he pushed the yellows, which made up most of the tones of the foliage, and the reds, which brightened the tones of the shore and visible soil.
Adjust The Conversion As you gain experience, you’ll know which sliders to move, and how much to push them.