There is something magical about working in black and white. I think it part it is because the process harkens back to some of the foundations of photography. All the way back to those very first photographic images, black and white photos have always been a part of photography.

In addition to the rich history of the black and white image, the tones in a black and white image help us to relate to the photograph differently than if we experience the image in color. The abstraction of colors, tones, light, and forms shifts our perspective as both a photographer and viewer.

In this six-week black and white course starting at the end of the month, we are going to cover a lot of the methods and techniques for creating amazing digital black and white photographs. Over the course of the class, we will spend some time discussing and talking about what makes for a good black and white photo and considerations for creating the black and white image. After that foundation, we will jump into the variety of ways that we can use the digital darkroom to create black and white images.

Each week will focus on a few tools and techniques. We start with black, and white conversions do’s and don’ts. Knowing what to avoid from the beginning is critical to making sure that you have what you need to make a successful image in the end. We will then review the zone system and how it relates to digital capture. Once we have the basics covered, we jump into conversation techniques.

Over the remaining weeks, we will spend time working on black and white conversion processing in Camera RAW/Lightroom/Capture One. Focusing on how to expand and push the image to get the best results possible. We will also talk about knowing when that conversion process isn’t enough to get the image where you want it to be and when you need a different tool.

We will then spend several weeks discussing the conversion process and workflows to use in Photoshop. Rather than focusing on a specific step-by-step process, we will examine the variety fo techniques and processes that can be applied to the digital file to make the conversion a success.

We will be working with:

  • channel mixing
  • channel blending
  • hue/saturation painting
  • Lab techniques
  • calculations
  • blend modes
  • masking and luminosity techniques
  • soft proofing
  • 3rd-party tool integrations
  • sharpening and grain effects
  • toning images in Photoshop
  • smart objects and smart object workflows

We will also take a look at some of the other tools available to convert images to black and white and how they can be integrated into the workflow.

Finally, we will discuss some specific considerations for printing in black and white and what you can do to maximum the quality of your black and white prints.

I hope that you can join us for the course, we are going to learn a lot and have a bunch of fun along the way. The class meets for an hour each Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 PM Pacific time. There is also an optional 30-minute follow-up session after each class.

You can register here for the class.