Digital Silver Imaging Technical Webinar Series: B&W Workflow


Instructor – Joe Brady

How you execute your black & white conversion can make-or-break your image and your print. Simply selecting “grey scale’ results in soulless black & white conversions. Photoshop® and Lightroom® expert Joe Brady shares how he converts his images from color to black & white.

In this event, Joe steps you through the process in clear easy to follow steps. Also included is a how-to on the Nik Silver Efex Pro plug-in.

Topics include: 

  • Creating a dynamic black & white conversion
  • Demonstrate best practices using Lightroom® and Adobe Photoshop®
  • Review of Nik Software Silver Efex Pro plugin
  • Black & white printing options
  • Question and answer



[music plays]


Eric Luden: Good morning, everybody. Thanks for joining us. Thanks again to Photo Wings for sponsoring us. My name is Eric Luden. I’m the founder of Digital Silver Imaging up in Boston, Massachusetts. And we’re excited to have our fourth series here with our friends at VII. And with my friend Joe Brady, who’s going to be doing the whole series to with you today on converting your files to black and white.


I, you know, we’re a fine art lab in Boston, we do specialize in silver gelatin printing. So this is a good opportunity to learn how to take those digital files of yours that might be in color, and take something that might look— convert that and make it look a little more stunning and dramatic and black and white. So, and we’ve done one of these before with Joe. Joe does a great job. I’m very excited to be working with Joe again. Joe and I, I’m not even going to tell you how long we’ve known each other, but neither of us had any gray hair, or facial hair. But it’s been a while. But Joe, like me has grown up in the industry. Great photographer himself, runs workshops internationally. So, hopefully you’ll check out some of his work. He’s a great instructor, and an extremely knowledgeable individual. So I’m going to turn it over to Joe and just say thanks again, Joe, for spending your morning with us in between your busy schedule.


Joe Brady: Oh, I’m happy to be here. So, I guess I just click on share my screen and you guys will see me, correct? There we go.


All right. So Eric, you can see my screen okay?


Eric Luden: Yes, I can. Yep.


Joe Brady: All right. Well, good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us. What I’d like to do today is talk about the kind of— my process for black and white conversions, which images I will choose for black and white. Unlike Eric, I also do like color photography. We make fun about that.


But it’s about composition for me and it’s about what kind of images are going to work as well and differently, or, in many cases much better when converted to black and white. And it comes down a lot to composition, and composition and color. I’ve got a whole bunch of demonstrations that I’m going to share with you in between Lightroom and Photoshop and a little bit also using Nik Silver Efex plugin, which is my favorite for black and white conversions. So let’s start out in Lightroom. I’ve got to know kind of a basic image here of a layout of a waterfall in a place called Ricketts Glen in Pennsylvania. And while the scene is nice, the composition is a little bit too centered. But we can easily fix that. The problem is the light this day, just the color really didn’t work. And sometimes the best thing to think about when you have an image that doesn’t work color wise is, well, black and white. Unfortunately, just converting it to let the software do the thing untouched isn’t going to work. If I just go into the develop module, and click on black and white, it just creates a really bland, boring kind of image. So, you need to think about what elements are going to make it more interesting. In this case, it’s about light and color. So, what I like to do is make the image as good as possible in color first, you don’t have to do it this way. But it makes sense to me, because I want to focus on the falls and some of the surrounding stuff, but not to the point where it overcomes. So right up here on top, we’ve got this area that’s a little bit too light. So, I’m going to start by using a graduated filter here. And I’m going to bring this down, I’m going to hit the O key so I can see the overlay. I’m getting everything I want, that’s fine. And I’m going to bring the highlights down because I see that this sky up here is going to be competing tonally with the falls itself. So, let’s bring that way down. I’m going to bring the exposure down too. And again, I’m trying, even though I’m looking at it in color, I’m starting to think in black and white. Now while I’ve done this, there are other areas they’re going to need a similar kind of treatment so I can just get a brush while I’m in the filter and then add to that. So, I’m going to make the brush a little bit bigger. I have auto masking off for now. I’m just going to kind of broadly paint and you can see that it is just picking up those same changes on the top to the bottom. I’m taking away some of the brightness of things that are potentially competing with the falls.


While there’s some other things I’m going to want to keep, like this little bit of green here, I do want to have it pop up a little bit more. So, if I hit done on there, and now convert it to black and white, we’re getting better, although we’re still not quite there. And the thing that really makes Lightroom work in black and white conversions, is when you come down to the black and white panel, which is just renamed, it’s basically the use saturation luminance panel with the “u” in saturation taken out. So, if you use this little pointed adjustment tool here, excuse me, this is what’s going to allow you to address the colors that are underneath the image. So, I know that these plants over here are green. So, if I click on here and push up, it’ll make everything that’s green, lighter or darker. And you can flavor to taste here. I mean, you could go something like that and just make it the waterfall. But I do want to bring in the greens a little bit. So, I’m actually going to push the greens up a little bit. And while I do that, I’m going to come up in the sky, and bring that down.


And that quickly, we’re making a lot of progress. After you see, well, I just want the greens to come up, you can start grabbing the sliders. What’s nice about this tool is you don’t have to know exactly what mix of colors are causing the change. And you can just point at the thing that you want and say, well, I want that thing to be lighter. Conversely, again, I want the sky up a little darker.


And that quickly, it looks a heck of a lot better. So compositionally, the falls is kind of dead center. That does take away sort of the motion. Yes, we have the falling motion of it, but this is more of a panoramic feel, which for most of us is going to mean tracking from left to right as we read across the image. So where is the more interesting stuff? Well, the rocks over here aren’t that exciting. There’s more going on over here. So, let’s go into the crop. Now my crop tool in Lightroom, I don’t personally believe in the rule of thirds, I find it to be very static as far as my compositions go, particularly in the landscape. I find the golden ratio, what we see here, to be a much better tool for gauging where to place items. And if you’re not familiar with this, if you go up to tools, to the crop guide overlay, you’ll see all these options. Here’s the rule of thirds, which we’re used to seeing, but a lot of people are kind of hung up on putting things on these intersections. And on the rule of thirds, it really starts to look kind of forced, and it actually makes it a little bit static. So, I much prefer the golden ratio, which is 1.6 to one, that’s the ratio there. And I’m going to crop from the right. I’m going to bring that in. I still want to keep some of it over there, but there’s less interest on the right. Let’s bring up from the bottom. And let’s bring down from the top. Now in addition to putting the falls in one of these lines, what it’s also doing is it’s making the falls bigger in the frame. Something else that can happen when you convert to black and white, when you have a lot of things that are depending on color to separate themselves from the scene, in this case, like some of these small plants. If you have too much of it in a black and white it kind of gets lost because there’s not enough tonal difference, where something like this, by making it smaller, now all of a sudden the waterfall is so much bigger. In fact, just so I can bounce back and forth and actually show you side by side, I’m going to hit command apostrophe or control apostrophe if you’re on a Windows machine. And I’m going to reset back to our original image. And so far all we’ve— just with those sliders and a little bit of light painting-we’ve converted this into this—which is already much more interesting. Now if we come back up to the basic panel, now that we’ve got our black and white conversion basically done, I can bring the clarity up, even add a little D haze, which will darken things and maybe add even a little bit more contrast to make it a more interesting image. Last thing I do to most of my images, excuse me, is I’ll come down to effects. I want to put a vignette. Now this one’s fairly dark around the edges, so it’s not going to need it as much as some of the other images we’ll work on. But what I like to do is to just make it a full negative vignette. Then I will adjust the roundness of it so I just have it going to the corners. I don’t want to come in too deeply. And then I’ll feather that in a little bit. Then I’ll back it off and depending on the image, somewhere between 12 and minus 20 is generally where I’m going to go and it’s the kind of thing that it’s it is very subliminal and subtle. You can’t even see there’s a vignette there. But if I click on this little switch to turn it on and off, you can see the slight darkening on the edges and that has the subliminal effect of keeping you in that image. So if I hit the C Key, I can compare the two. Shift Tab to get rid of everything else. The L key to turn off the lights. And we can see our after and before. And I think that you’ll agree that the composition and just the image itself is much more interesting as a black and white this way because the color is not a distraction. Some of the colors are actually drawing you away from the falls in here, where in the black and white, it is pure all falls.


So let’s go back to our menu, get rid of this comparison. There we go. There we can see it full screen. Much more interesting than where we were.


Actually, that’s the wrong one. All right, so let’s move on to another image. And by the way, I’m sure these guys have mentioned as questions come in, by all means, feel free. In fact, someone did mention, said my screen is out of focus. Well, that’s kind of not possible. I’ve never heard or seen that happen. So there’s something technically going on that’s there— not not on this end.  So, here’s another image that—this is something that happens all the time. We’ll take a picture and something’s wrong with the light or the color, and we never give it a second thought. It gets thrown away. But if you slow down and really look at the composition, there are things here that are very interesting. Now this is actually Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton. That’s Mt. Moran in the background. We have a storm that’s kind of passing by. I exposed for the highlights on this. And if you look up at the histogram up here, you can see, well, face it, that’s a sexy histogram, it just really can’t get any better than that. We are all the way to the left without clipping, we are all the way to the right without clipping. So as far as the camera was concerned, this exposure is perfect. Unfortunately, it looks terrible. And that’s the problem. I wish the manufacturers would make us cameras that actually captured scenes the way our eyes see them and stop it with the megapixels, I have enough megapixels, thank you. I want a camera that’s going to see the way my eyes see. So, our tonal range in our eyes is much greater. And in addition, when an image comes into a raw converter, it typically gets a contrast curve applied to it is well behind the scenes, and that makes a very high contrast image even look worse. So, we have to counteract that. So again, this is a color image still, but you can’t even tell because there’s so little color in it. But what can we do to make this an interesting shot as a black and white? So, the problems are, well, we look at the histogram and everything’s good. I’m going to bring the highlights down. We can see those clouds even better. And I’m going to bring the shadows all the way up.


Now that helps. Alright, we can see some of the colors starting to come in. But it’s still not there. We’re going to have to work locally to open this thing up. So I’m going to get a brush, and I’m going to start by turning on auto mask and what auto mask will do is just select the things that match the tone of whatever is underneath that plus sign. So I’m going to turn on the overlay, which will let me see where I’m selecting. By the way, again, my overlay is set for green, which is underneath tools here, adjustment mask overlay. The default is red. I find for landscape photography, the green is just easier to see. So I’m going to click in here and you can see that it’s only picking up— it’s not touching the mountains, for example. If I click on this tree— make a liar out of me— I guess the tones are pretty close.


You can see it’s picking up along the edges. And I’m going to make this brush smaller, and just kind of come across this entire grouping here, because it’s just simply gone too dark. And now you can see the auto mask working. This thing in the front—I don’t even know if we’re going to end up having it in the image when we’re done—but we’ll open that up a little bit as well. And you can paint this roughly, because keep in mind that this does feather out down to practically nothing. So I hit O to turn off the overlay, but since the dot still has a black dot in the middle that means it’s still alive. So, let’s bring the exposure way up.


And it’s that’s helping. It’s maybe a little too much. Let’s bring up the shadows some more. That’s better. I don’t like what it’s done down here. So, I’m going to hold down the Alt key which turns it to a minus, and I’m going to get rid of the areas kind of along the water there.


Okay, that’s better. So, I’m going to hit New. I want to bring up these really dark shadows even more. So, I hit O to turn on my overlay again. And I want to get some of these very deep shadows in the trees to come up a little bit more. And O to toggle that off, and now we can bring the exposure of those up. So now we’re starting to see some more detail.


So, we’ve got the trees showing us enough detail now for this scene. Now we need to work on the mountain. So let’s click on New. And again, O, to bring up our mask, so we can see what we’re selecting. And I want to select right along here.


And it’s okay if it goes into the sky a little bit. Now, the mountains off to the left here are okay. It’s the primary peak that I want to add a little bit more emphasis to. So let’s get that isolated and hit our O key. I’m going to bring up the exposure. I’m going to hit dehaze and clarity and contrast to try to bring this thing up a little more. In fact, let’s bring up the whites a little as well.


And I’m not even concerned about colors. Because this is all about— going to be a black and white conversion. And I think that’s looking pretty good. You might think, well, it’s not looking very good. Well, it is. Watch. Let’s just turn it into a black and white. And you can see we’re starting to get there. Now this image is going to require a lot more work. Let’s cut to the chase. This is a good time to show you how Nik Silver Efex can speed some of this stuff up. So let’s go to photo, edit in, Silver Efex Pro. And we’ll do of course, do it with the adjustments we’ve already made to the image.


Alright, so let’s just give this a second to come in. Can— Is there anything in Silver Efex that you cannot do in Lightroom or Photoshop? Probably not. But it does things so much quicker than you can ever do it yourself, that why not take advantage of it. And it does have some very specific things that it does that are very interesting. In particular, one thing they call structure, which is similar to clarity, but it’s not exactly the same. In addition, it does, in my opinion, the best job of editing a film like grain to a black and white image. And for me, maybe it’s because I used to shoot black and white film, as I’m sure many of you have, I’ve seen black and whites printed without any grain and it just doesn’t seem right to me. So that’s what —another thing I like about it. So if you look over on the left hand side, we have a bunch of presets that you can scroll down and you can get 1, oh 1 looks kind of right. Let’s see this high structure harsh look, and actually kind of liking that. That might be our go to start point. Let’s see what else looks good. Let’s see how push process looks. No—don’t like it as well. Another one I like for landscapes is called a wet rocks. So, let’s get down to wet rocks. And no, I think the— this image works well with the high contrast harsh. Yeah, it just needs it. Okay, and we have this before and after bar. And you can see going back and forth where we were and what it’s done for the image. It’s just added so much more life to it. And now we can fine tune by coming in closer with this control point right here. So, if I click here and put it— I’m going to put it right over the mountain and I can set how big an area it’s going to affect. If I then add more structure to that—I can do it right here rather sorry—add structure here we can see it’s coming up. I can brighten it up a little bit. It’s a little bit too big an area, so let’s zoom in a little bit more, maybe add a little more contrast, looking much better. Now, after you’ve got a change like this and you like what it’s done, you can hold down the Alt key as you click on this button and actually drag that same effect you’ve just done to other parts of the image. And notice if I hit one of the white pieces of snow versus the dark shadows, it changes how it affects the image. And I think maybe one more over in here, oh, maybe not. I’m going to bring actually bring the brightness down because I want to have that corner darker. Same thing with the sky— do I want to bring the sky down a little bit, maybe bring down the brightness in that corner. And let’s add even some more structure up into the sky. Up here you can see how it really separates out those clouds. And I think, actually, I think we’re about done. Let’s do maybe one more. Let’s come in right to this small part here. Let’s zoom in closer and make it more contrasty, a little brighter and a little more structure. Alright, so if we drag our before and after slider, look at the difference. What’s happened to the image before and after. And it just makes this process so much easier. Now we have an image that’s got a lot more impact. So let’s hit save on this and it will convert it to a TIFF and send it right back into Lightroom. Next to where we started.


Now, am I done with it? No, there still needs to be, I think, a little bit of composition help here. All right, I think it needs a crop. Now so, let’s take a look at the cropping tool. There’s a little too much on the bottom again. We want the mountain to be the star in here. I’m thinking maybe something like that. And let’s bring the top down. And let’s see how does that look? Looking pretty good, especially when you consider what we started with, which I’ll show you in a second. It does need a hist—it does need a vignette. So, let’s do our vignette yet again. I’m going to bring it down. I think we’ll make this a little less round also. We’ll just hit to the corners, we’re going to feather it in a bit and then back off to—we’ll do about minus 20. By the way, if you add Plus it actually puts a white vignette, we want the darker one. And I’m just going to do it to taste— about around there. And again, here is our original color edit. I’m going to go ahead and reset that so we can see the original RAW file. And just that quickly, we’ve gone from here to there. Much more interesting image. And again, we can fine tune it a little bit more. In fact, let’s just do that let’s do a little bit more light painting. I’m going to get a brush. I’m going to do this in in Lightroom. I’m going to turn off auto mask and make a nice big brush. I just want to darken up here a little bit, kind of this swath here and going to darken that. So, let’s bring the exposure down just a little bit. And then conversely, I’m going to hit New, and I’m going to help it along. I’m going to draw a light path from here right down with this reflection in the lake, I’m going to draw a little path of light. And let’s bring the exposure up on that just a little bit. I’m going to add some more contrast and clarity into that, just to highlight the mountain with its glacier right there. And I think we can call that one done. And again, when you consider that’s what we started with. And again, the kind of image that when you saw on the back of your camera, you would probably throw it away. But since I was here, and when I’m at a place, one thing I will always do is I’ll put my camera away and just kind of stare at the place and decide did I get the composition that I’m after. Forget what the image looks like on the back of the camera, look at the histogram. And this histogram is just telling me that I’ve got everything I need. And if you can see in your mind’s eye that you can create something like this out of that image that look terrible, that’s the key. It’s being able to pre-visualize what it is that’s going on in the scene and making sure you have the composition that will support it. So that was fun. Yes.


Eric Luden: Just got a question here from someone about— from Rebecca—about is Silver Efex already in the program. And then Darlene responded, you need to purchase it, so Silver Efex is a plugin that needs to be installed separately whether you’re working in Lightroom or Photoshop is that correct?


Joe Brady: That is correct and I’m forgetting what the pricing is right now I want to say it’s $159 but that’s not just for Silver Efex. That is for the VESA, which is my primary color editor, Dfine which is an amazing noise reduction. There’s HDR EfexPro. I don’t know if I have the entire list here. Let’s take a look. Yes, these are all part of the Silver— part of the NIK Efex that are part of that kit. So analog, color, Dfine, their sharpeners—a couple different sharpeners, Silver Efex Viveza and then in a different place is under export I believe. Is it going to give me to me? Yeah, HDR Efex Pro is another one. So those are all part of the kit you get all of them when you get it, so to me anybody that’s in the landscape photography, you definitely want to have it. In fact color effects I use— for a lot of—I do portrait work as well. That’s what I use for portraits.


Eric Luden: And I will say to people to see you know that Nik Software was acquired a few years ago by DxO Software. So, but if you google Nik Software, you’ll find it.


Joe Brady: Yeah. And it’ll show up.


Eric Luden: And one other quick question from John is, do you always vignette your black and white conversions?


Joe Brady: I don’t want to say always, but I will probably say 80% of the time. It depends on the scene. If it’s landscape, it’s probably closer to 100%. Because I do want to put that little subliminal vignette in to just— what it has is the effect of bouncing the viewers eyes subliminally back into the frame. As you’re tracking left to right, you might want to leave the image. That’s why I typically will darken the right edge if there’s something that I can darken and by the way, that’s a compositional element that I do with my photography when I’m composing in the first place. But it has an added effect of when you hit the dark, it’s it kind of stops your eye and pushes you back to the lighter things. So, I find it does really help. I do have some images that I would not do it to. But I would say fairly often.


Eric Luden: Thank you.


Joe Brady: Alright, let’s move on. Let’s do let’s do one—one that’s really simple. This is Scituate Lighthouse up in Massachusetts, little south of Boston, Eric’s territory. And I just cropped in to make this very simple and very graphic. Once again, if I just come up to the basic panel and do a very basic conversion—oops, wrong. Yeah, black and white. It looks terrible. It just has no life to it at all. In this case, the color image looks much better. However, again, coming down to the black and white panel. All this really needs is a sky darkening. And for any of you that have done black and white photography, whatever you have cloudscapes, I was always having a yellow or orange filter on my lens to fix that. Excuse me one second. That smoothie has made made my throat rough for some reason. I don’t know what my wife put in that this morning. Anyway, so I’m going to click on our targeted adjustment tool, and basically, I want to darken the blue. And I happen to know the sky is blue here. So if I just click and drag down, watch what happens to the sky. And you can make it ridiculously dark. And this is kind of flavor to your your preference. And but I’m thinking— it depends. I’m thinking maybe around there. I can either make it darker than lighthouse and go real dramatic, or make it a little more realistic, but just make it somewhat darker. I think something about like that, maybe even… Yeah, something like that works a lot better. And when you consider we started with that, just by bringing that slider down, that makes the black and white work much better than if I reset. So, which I can do by just double clicking on the word black and white mix, it resets all the sliders. That’s very uninteresting, where I can just click and drag. And these are the kinds of tools that are the things that Lightroom does even better than Photoshop. Now is this one that I would vignette. Yeah, probably not, it really doesn’t need it. However, I would not be quite done with this. I would want to lighten up the lighthouse itself. So let’s use a Radial Filter, I’m going to get a nice radial here. And I’m going to put it around the top of the lighthouse. Now if I hit the O key that’ll show us the overlay. And I don’t know who at Adobe decided that it was a good idea to have it select everything outside of what you just selected, but they did, so you have to click on invert to make sure it’s just the inside of the oval. I’ll hit O to toggle that off. And I’m just going to bring up the exposure a little bit, open up the shadows a bit just to separate the lighthouse a little bit more from the background. And that gives it a little bit more dimension. Add a little clarity in there as well. And boost the exposure a little more. Now the lighthouse itself is much more three dimensional. It’s separated out from the background, just with that little bit of lightning. And in this case, it kind of eliminates the need for a vignette. Would I still put one in? I don’t know. Let’s take a look. Let’s take a look at the effects. Oh, there already was in yet on here. Send them again. Yeah, apparently, I already done one on the color one. So, well, there you go. I do like the vignette on that as well. And it does—it looks it looks nice. And by adding that radial filter up on the top here, it has helped to separate out the lighthouse from that background. Moving on, let’s show something completely different.


Eric Luden: Joe, just a quick question from Bill Barrett. He’s talking about that previous image. Do you use ever use gradients on the edges as opposed to vignetting he whole image?


Joe Brady: Yeah, sometimes. I think in fact, I think I have a couple images that we’ll be doing that. So good question. Stay tuned. We’ll do that in a minute.


Eric Luden: Great. Thanks. Good question, Bill.


Joe Brady: Yeah, that’s a good question. Okay, so this, this is actually during one of my workshops, it almost looks like, you know, let’s get the band together again after 40 years. But this was this was a fun group. So again, look at the sky, you don’t see anything in the sky. But the look at the histogram, the histogram is great. There is no clipping. Now, these two little triangles up here a clipping warnings. All right, yeah, I do have a little pure white up in here. And as far as black goes—yeah, there’s really no black. So, let’s go to the basic panel again. Let’s just bring the highlights down. And look, there were clouds. So that’s the whole key. And just by taking away the contrast, by bringing the highlights down and the shadows all the way up, look how much interest— more interesting, it looks already. Now, this is obviously a little too white. So, we’re going to have to deal with that separately, I’m going to add a little clarity to this group. And I’m going to add saturation too, because it’s going to affect the black and white conversion. So again, I’ll always make my image the best it can be as a color image before doing the black and white conversion, because all those tones are going to come into play. Now this is a little too bright. So, let’s go ahead and get a brush, I’m going to turn on auto mask, hit O from my overlay. And let’s select that thing because that needs to come down. There’s no detail in it, because obviously the sun was behind it. But we can still bring the whites down just to take some of the heat off of that, so it doesn’t become so strong. I may end up cropping it out when we’re done anyway. But I think this is another image that is just screaming for Silver Efex, because Silver Efex also has some very cool image borders that we can put to use. So, I like that, I like where we are. Again, I’ll probably crop it, but let’s go ahead and apply Silver Efex to it. So, photo edit in Silver Efex. And yes, we want our Lightroom adjustments with it. Now as I mentioned, one of the things Silver—two of the things Silver Efex does is— it does have some interesting image borders. And it does have, in my opinion, the best photographic grain that you can add to a digital image and it really reproduces well. Some of the images that I sent to Digital Silver Imaging, I did apply the grain using Silver Efex, and it just printed so beautifully. I’ll show you one of my favorite prints before we’re done here today. Okay, so let’s go full screen with Silver Efex. So again, here’s our before and after. Again, just like when you do a straight black and white conversion in Lightroom or Photoshop, it loses. So let’s see a high structure smooth this time since we have people, and look at the difference already. That’s looking—catch up — that’s looking a heck of a lot better, right there. In fact, I’m liking that a lot. Let’s do some control points to control this a little bit. I’m going to bring down the brightness of that really bright spot here. And I’m going to add some structure back into it. Then I’m going to hold down the Alt key and drag it over so that we have the rest of the skies around it, getting the same effect. Now where the guys are, happens to be a little too dark. So, let’s get a nice big brush here. And let’s lighten that up—that was a little too big an area. Let’s—because it does feather off—so let’s do it about there— wrong way. Let’s brighten up our guys and got one of the guys, his coat got a little dark. So, we’ll do one just for him as well, bring the brightness up. And in fact, even on his face, so I’m going to just bring it out, there’s the face coming out. That’s one of the guys hanging way out in the back. And I’m liking it. So again, we go back and forth. And you can see our before and after. And it really makes for a great black and white. Now I talked about the edges. So, there is a vignette in Silver Efex. I don’t like using it. I do like some of their edges, though they could have done a little better naming on them because here’s the different names. Very helpful, right? So, unless you really get the hang of it, you have to scroll through. And you can see there’s all these kind of photographic edges. Let’s find one that looks appropriate for this image, and I like the rough one. Let’s see what else.


Oh, I like that one too. I wish that— I wish they had names for them. And the other thing is after you’ve picked one— whoops—after you’ve picked one that you like, you can then adjust the edges. So, let’s go with that one. And then when you go— oops me—you have the ability to burn the edges again here. Again, we’re not going to do that. I do prefer doing that in Lightroom. Alright, so I think I think I do like that one. Now I also mentioned grain. So, let’s come up to where it says neutral.  There are some film simulations in here that can really have a big effect on the image, depending on if there was a film that you liked. And as you scroll through these, you’re going to find different feelings as they simulate or emulate these films. Not sure if there’s any here, I want to do actually. I do like that— ah, wouldn’t you know, it’s Ilford. Since that’s where I met Eric all those years ago, years ago. Actually, I do kind of like that. And then there will also color filters here. So, if I wanted to darken the sky, I can click on yellow. And you can see in this case, it made the the people too— their skin too light. But you can also bring down the strength of it. And you can see what that filter is doing as you adjust the strength. So you really have the ultimate of control here, and yeah, I think I think I like it. So, and again, we can see there before and after. There’s what we started with when we brought it into Silver Efex. And then there’s what we ended up with. By the way, since one thing warning about the edges—the edges are built into the file. So if you decide you want to do a crop later, you’re going to have to bring it back into —Oh, I talked about grain, but I didn’t even do it. Let’s go back to grain. Right here underneath there’s grain, and grain per pixel. The bigger the number, the finer the grain is. I generally find the high three hundreds are about where I like to be. That gives me a really nice film like grain— as far as hard and soft goes, a little bit to the harder side. And that’s looking good. So let’s hit save. And again, it will send us back into Lightroom. And I think that really turned out to be a fun image of one of our— some of the guys on one of our workshops, this is actually in his old building in Grand Teton.


Alright, so there is our black and white. Let me—I’ll reset. That was our raw color image coming in. There’s our raw color. And there is our black and white. It has so much more life to it. Just the whole mood of it is very cool. And I love the edging on it as well. But again, that’s flavoring to taste.


Oops… still want to stay in Lightroom for now. Let’s move on to something different. Let’s see how are we doing timewise? 10:40. Because I’ve got Photoshop stuff to do.


Let’s see, I’ve got— Well, we could do that one. Yeah, let’s do this one. This is one of the famous Moulton barns in Grand Teton. And this, this image works well as a color image. Let’s make a virtual copy of it so we have one that we can bounce back and forth to. Again, if we were to go to just click on black and white, it completely has no life to it at all. We’ve got some spots too. Look at that. So, let’s— as long as we’ve got spots, let’s hit the spot removal tool. And oh, I had a lot of spots. Apparently, I was changing lenses out in the field. So, in this case, yeah, this would this would actually be done faster in Photoshop, but since we’re in Lightroom, let’s just get rid of the spots. When you see that perfect circle with the hole in the middle, that’s a sensor spot. So that’s not good. Because as you do your black and white conversions, you’re adding more local contrast, things like spots, as we’re seeing here will become much more prominent. So, you do want to get rid of them here. The nice thing about doing it in Lightroom is that if you have a series of images taken in the same place, that you took right at the same time, if you had spots, they’ll all be there in the— in each image and you can then sync your images and get rid of all the spots in your image— in all your images in one click. Okay, they’re all gone. So what are the issues here? Well, once again, we’ve got an issue with the sky because it’s gone too light. So let’s again go to our black and white panel. Let’s bring our sky down. And you can see I’m just dragging the color. Interestingly enough, I would have never thought that purple was the color that the sky needed to come down with. Still not enough for me. So we’re going to have to use a graduated filter. So I’m going to drag down, come over the top of the mountains. Let’s hit O, to see what we’ve got. Now I want to get some more of this, the range just above the mountain. So let’s get a brush and make it a little bit smaller than that. I’ve got auto mask on. So let’s just kind of drag along the peaks here so we can get all the sky, and then we’re going to do the opposite, we’re going to use a minus, and I’m going to click inside this tree as well. I’m going to use a minus to get it off the peak, so I hold down the Alt key. With my minus— oop, I got a little bit too much sky in there and we’ll have to go back and forth. But just quickly, we can get rid of most of the peaks. And then we’ll use the plus again. I want to get rid of this tree also. I don’t want to make this tree dark— any darker than it is. So, let’s go ahead and get rid of the tree branches. Again, if there’s a little bit of them that are getting it, it’s not going to matter that much. They just don’t want the main trunk to get darker— and a little bit more right along there. Okay, I could zoom in closer and do this, but you’ll find that these things that are hitting towards the edge are actually not going to be affected that much. So hit O to toggle off. Now let’s bring our exposure down. That’s looking better. Let’s add some clarity and dehaze. That was a little bit too much. Bring the exposure back up a little bit. But now the sky is looking a lot better. Now that said what else has happened? We have other color issues. Well, for one, the barn is kind of lost. So let’s click on the barn and see if the color of the barn wood is enough that we can push it up. And the answer is Yes, it can. Just by pushing up, we can see that there was a bunch of orange in the barn. So that brought up brought up that. I mentioned compositionally that certain things need color, in this case, all of this sagebrush in the front really needed the color to work. In the black and white, it doesn’t work as well. And the barn has got a little lost in amongst all this brush. So, I’m going to do a crop again to get rid of much of the foreground sage, and there’s also nothing going on at the top of the sky. So, we’re going to make this a panel. Now, could I crop this left, and right? I could. However, if you’ve ever been in this place, what typically happens— and when you when you crop something panoramic like this, your eyes again are going to track left to right, you’re going to follow this fence line. If this tree was not here, there’s nothing stopping you from leaving the frame. In fact, let’s just do a quick crop. So, you can see, I’m going to crop out the tree. And now there’s nothing stopping you from leaving the image. Even though the barn is bigger in the frame, you can leave. Now could we affect that?


With some light painting? Yeah, we could. But let’s see what happens if we put a little of the tree. No— then it’s just a distraction, wondering what the tree is doing there. Let’s include the tree. I just think it needs it. Now since the barn is smaller in the frame, when we have this bigger crop, it does mean we’re going to need a bigger print. Alright, so let’s go back to the main image, I think the whole thing needs a little bit more contrast. I’m going to bring the highlights all the way down. I’m going to bring the whites down a little bit too. And yes, so here’s one, does it need a vignette? Probably not around the edges. So, let’s do a graduated filter on the bottom. Let’s just darken the bottom here a little bit and bring the exposure down. Kind of do our vignette just on the bottom of the image. I think it needs a little bit right here as well. So, let’s get our brush and add to that. And you can see it just picks up the same thing that we were doing here. I can darken that little bit of sage and we’re almost done. Need to highlight this, this barn a little more, we need to do a little bit more light painting. So, let’s get a brush. Make it a little bit smaller. And I’m going to hit O. I see my where it’s selecting and I want to darken that area. What else is light that’s maybe a little bit too light, little areas? I just want to look for things that are going to allow the viewer to leave the image and kind of entice them to sta. Just those areas right there. Let’s bring the exposure down on those. Good. And now let’s create a new one. I’m going to create a light path on this physical path. Right here. This is actually, if you want to, if you were here and you wanted to get to the barn, you’d— it’s actually the path that you would follow to get to the barn. So, let’s hit O and bring the exposure up a little bit on that. And that’s having the effect of both leading you visually and physically to the barn. And I think we can be done with that. Maybe even after all that’s done, let’s add a little bit more clarity to the entire image. Let’s bring the clarity up a bit, that’ll add a little more definition, maybe a little bit of dehaze to darken everything and add some more overall contrast. And I think we’ve got it. So, let’s go full screen and take a look at that one. So, there’s our image as a black and white. And when you compare it to our original color shot, you can see it’s got much more drama. And as we simplify the image, now the barn becomes more prevalent than the image and you’ve got this visual path that is actually leading you up to the barn. Alright, moving on, let’s see, it’s getting that late ready, I think it’s time we need to go into Photoshop. Let’s do something in Photoshop. So, let’s go look at a Photoshop image. And just a couple of new tools here. Now, you might see a lot of lighthouses lately, I was on a couple of lighthouse trips recently. So, I’ve got them. Let’s send this one into Photoshop, just as is. The composition, the light, everything has been taken care of already. So let’s go to photo edit in Photoshop. And we just want to have it however we finished up with it in Lightroom. Now Photoshop does give you a lot more options for your black and white conversions. You have a lot more control, there’s a lot more things you can do, since you have the layers. Alright, so here’s our image in Photoshop. First thing I like to do is Command J or Ctrl J just to create a copy of that background layer. So, I always have one that I can go back to if I messed up. Now, if I just do a black and white conversion, which is under your adjustment layers, black and white. And it does just like Lightroom does, it just gives you this bland kind of uninteresting thing. Now that said there are presets in Photoshop that you can take advantage of. If I click on where it says default and say well, let me see what a yellow filter looks like. That helps a bit—not completely thrilled with it. Red filter—eh. Let’s see what high contrast red filter looks like. Maybe a little closer. How about infrared? Interesting in some ways, but not in others. So, let’s just put it back to its default. In fact, we’re just going to, we’re just going to turn this off for the time being, because what I want to do is I want to affect the sky separately. So, let’s let’s go ahead and do that. And now I could go through magic wand and doing the best to select the sky. But the latest version of Photoshop does have a pretty impressive sky select.


If you just go to Select, now it just says sky, and it just makes life so much easier when you’re trying to do that. And how it does this is beyond me, but it’s pretty amazing. So, it’s working its magic. And we will have a sky selection shortly. Come on. There we go. Look at that. It’s really amazing how it does that. So, I’m going to save this just so I can get back to it quickly. I’m just going to call it sky. So now I’ll have a channel. I’ll have that saved so that I can bring it back later. Now if I— just going to hide this. Let’s just hide our extras. Okay, so now we have a mask that that’s got— that’s available and let’s bring back our black and white. Now maybe we want to do a different edit on just the sky. So, let’s do another black and white. And notice we’ve got our mask. If I hit Alt and click on it, it’s it shows me what was selected out of that sky selection. Now I actually want the opposite of this. I want just the white parts. So, I hit Command I which gives me just the sky. So now I can come to my black and white conversion. Now let’s see what happens if I do infrared. Nope, I guess that’s where it was. Let’s do a high contrast red. No. Let’s do yellow. Nope, not getting it, not getting anything there. Hold on a second. What did I select wrong? Actually, I want to do it as a levels. What was I thinking? Let’s do a Levels adjustment and I want to darken the sky. I don’t want to affect the rest of the image. But since I already have this mask here, I can hold down the Alt and drag it up. And see, yeah, not loving it. So, you can see that sometimes just the black and white conversions that you’re being offered, just aren’t going to cut it. So let’s go back to our standard and see what we can do to make this more interesting.


So, let’s go back to our default setting. Which one did we like the best? Was it high contrast red? Yeah, maybe. Let’s see infrared. I do like infrared, but not maybe at 100%. So, what can we do? Well, after you get a setting, you can then change it. So, I have this case, so they give you this pointed finger. So, if I want to darken or lighten the sky, I can do that separately now. So now after I got my preset, I can push up in the areas that I want. I can also do different conversions and we can mask them out. So, let’s do another black and white conversion. And in fact, let’s hide the one underneath. And for this one, let’s see, let’s try something that’s going to work better just on the lighthouse. So, let’s try a red filter. And that really lightened up the lighthouse. So, I like that. And if I have both of these on, now they’re both competing with each other, now you got to mask something out. So, there’s our one underneath. If we start painting with black on here, we can start to lighten this up a bit. But is the answer again for this image, is it within Photoshop? Maybe we want to add a Silver Efex to this. So, let’s create something called the stack. Let me get rid of these extra layers here. Get rid of those, don’t need those. Since we have our black and white layer, let’s create a stack of this. We’re going to flatten this image but keep everything together. So, if you hold down the Alt key when you choose merge visible, what it does is it creates a flattened version of the image, but you get to keep all of your layers below. So, let’s run this one. Let’s run this layer through Silver Efex. And then we can further make adjustments to what we’ve done. And then we can mask those in and out as we see fit. So here’s our Silver Efex. Again, here’s the neutral with really not much of a change. Let’s see one that makes the lighthouse look good. I think that makes the lighthouse look better. And let’s bring up the shadows a bit more. Let’s get our control points and bring up the brightness on the lighthouse. That looks a lot better. And let’s bring down the sky. Bring the brightness down on the sky a bit. Let’s make that selection area larger. And as we scroll back and forth, we can see what we’ve been able to accomplish just by bringing that black and white already into Silver Efex. That’s kind of what we’re after. And changing the feel of it completely. I’m finding these trees here—the brushes may be a little bit too bright. Let’s bring down the brightness of these leaves just a little bit. I just want to take some of the brightness off of them. And I think we got an interesting result. Now we’ve got a sky that’s dramatic. And the lighthouse we can see much better. So, you can think about layering when you’re doing this. That you might want to have a combination. And does this one need a vignette? Yeah, hate to say it I think it does. This is one that does need a full vignette. And this needs—the best place to do this again is back in Lightroom. Lightroom is better at this stuff because it’s not part of the image effect. Let’s let’s go back into Lightroom as soon as this is done saving and see what we can do with different crops and vignettes. And the reason that I always do like my final crop my final vignette is always done in Lightroom because it’s nondestructive. So, if we come to effects and we do a nice, I’ll do a nice big vignette here. And I’m going to go ahead and apply that oval gradient as well, just to lighten up the lighthouse a little bit more. I’m going to hit invert, bring up the exposure a little bit, just so we see the lighthouse better. And the nice thing about this— notice it’s called a post crop. Yeah, well, what that means is if I change the crop, if I decide, well, let’s just want to make this a vertical. If I just say, well, that’s my image now.


What’s cool is the vignette follows it. If I turn the vignette on and off, you can see. In fact, as we see it, on this vertical, that vignettes too strong. It doesn’t need that strong vertical or strong vignette on it. That’s too much. So let’s back off on it.


It’s interesting how the different cropping require different vignettes. And then we have stuff like— we’ve got a little bit of stick here, or a branch, that’s an annoyance. So let’s get the Spot Removal Tool—turn off visualize spots—and I’m going to click once right on the tip of it, let it select from somewhere that makes sense. So I’ll move that, then I’m going to hold down the shift key and click on the other end. And that will draw a straight line to get rid of that entire branch. We’ll do the same thing here, and there, and that one doesn’t bother me as much. Actually, it is bothering me, let’s get rid of it. So, let’s get rid of that and select over here. And then this one. Alright, actually, this one, it picked up a little bit of the tree so let’s bring that over. And what we’re going to do instead of having it heal, we’re going to make that one a clone. And what clone does is it creates a much sharper, exact copy. And yep, I think I do like that better. When you consider that we started there, which is fine. But doing the crop and putting the lighthouse off to the left and why? Because of this. We’ve got this tree here that is forming a visual block that’s guiding you into the lighthouse itself. Yes, maybe this, this foliage down the bottom is a little too bright. Let’s do a graduated filter there and bring down those highlights and whites a bit, just to take off some of the heat of that bright conversion we did. And I think we’re good. We ended up with a nice black and white. Again, considering we started with this color image, which is fine. But this does have a lot more drama. Alright.


Eric Luden: Joe?


Joe Brady: Yeah.


Eric Luden: So, I think I just want to let people know we’re coming up to 11. And want to encourage people to— if you have questions to please put them in the Q&A. We do have a question from Lisa, where she asks, has clarity taken the place of sharpening?


Joe Brady: Yeah, no, no, they are different… Well, they’re, they perform similar functions. But what clarity does is increase— it increases the contrast on edges that are in the mid tones. So, it has the effect of sharpening stuff that’s in the mid tones, while leaving highlights and shadows alone more. What we have to be careful about, with clarity, is it is fairly damaging. It can do a lot of damage to an image. So, you got to be careful about it. One thing about sharpening is you have the ability to mask it in Lightroom. In fact, that’s a really good question. Hold on to that thought. I’m going to, I’m going to do a demo with that in just a second. But I do like that question. Since we are getting close to our time, we only got like 15 minutes left. I’m going to cut to the chase on this particular image. This is, you can see, this is a tiny little lighthouse—you can see from the people here. It’s called Brant Point. This is on Nantucket off the coast of Cape Cod. And I didn’t want the people here, I didn’t, because of the mood. I wanted it to be more alone. So I did my edits and I brought it into Photoshop to make this happen. And not only are they gone but notice the sky has moved. So, let’s take a look real quick. I just want to show you what happened here. I’m going to bring the highlights down. I’m going to add saturation and vibrance— actually going to a lot of saturation. And we’ll go ahead and add clarity. In fact, let’s do that sharpening thing right here so we can talk about that. I’ll add some texture and clarity. I’m going to bring the shadows up. Okay, so let’s take a look at it. Let’s look at it at 50%. Let’s zoom in a bit. So, let’s take a look at sharpening. So clarity, yes, if I if I double click on the word clarity, it takes it away and if I add clarity, you can see how it has an— it does have a sharpening effect but it’s not over the entire image. It’s over the middle tones. You can see certain things get sharpened, certain things do not. It’s still different than sharpening. If we go to sharpening, which is under detail, I’m going to add a bunch of sharpening I’m going to add a lot. And that’s great. And it does it sharpens the fine edges everywhere. The downside is it also sharpens things like the sky, which has nothing to sharpen. So, the effect is, if we look at the sky. Let’s see if we can actually see it. Yeah, I can see it on my screen, I doubt it’s going that well through zoom. You can kind of see it in here, you can see how it’s added a bunch of grain. You can see it right underneath the top of the lighthouse here. So if I turn that sharpening off, you can see there, it’s smooth. If I add a bunch of sharpening, all of a sudden it starts getting a little bit too grainy. But I do like what it did to some of the edges. So we have the masking slider for that. And for the masking slider to make any sense, you really kind of can’t see it, as you move it. You have to hold down the Alt key first. That turns the entire screen white and as you drag over, it’ll give you a black and white version. And only the things that are in white are getting sharpened, so just those edges, so you can decide how much of those details you want sharpened. So just that— so now it is just sharpening those smaller area so there’s much less grain involved.


Now, what was going on here is I really liked the sky up top here. But these— this break in the clouds is too far away. So, here’s what we’re going to do. First, I’m going to fix it. I’m going to use hue saturation luminance. And I’m going to click on saturation. And I want to bring the blues up. In fact, I can cut to the chase and just make the blue a lot bluer. And I’m going to change the hue as well, I’m going to push it off to the right a little bit. I want a little bit more of a pure blue. And I’m going to make it a little darker as well. So, let’s bring the blues down. Not quite that much. About there. So now we have this great sky up here, but it’s too far away from the lighthouse. And we have these people here. Well, they’ve got, they’ve got to go. So, let’s open this now in Photoshop. So, let’s go photo edit in Photoshop. And I’ll show you a trick that I do many times, because a lot of times, you’ve got great clouds somewhere, but they’re too far away from the subject and face it, this lighthouse is small enough. We need to get rid of some of the surrounding areas so that we can make the lighthouse have more impact in the frame. Alright, so here is our image. Now what I did, when I did my real edit of this is I got rid of the people, I painted them out, I’m going to since for time’s sake, I’m going to cheat and just cut to the chase, I’ll just crop the image. But here’s what I want to do, I want to bring these clouds closer to the lighthouse. So, I’m going to duplicate the background. And I’m going to— whoops, I got a brush there. I’m going to select the entire top of the image, in fact down to the top of the lighthouse and I see I now have a slight rotation on the lighthouse also. And we’re going to use one of my favorite tools in Photoshop, content aware scale. What that allows me to do is to directionally move things, compress things in an image, and I just want to go in one direction. So, I’m holding down the shift key and clicking on this top. And you can squish clouds, they don’t seem to mind and how Photoshop pulled this off, I have no idea but it’s really amazing. But it allows me to bring the clouds down to my subject. And I’m going to end up cropping this so that the lighthouse is bigger because there’s too much stuff beyond the lighthouse. Alright, that looks much better, I’m just going to go ahead and bring up the crop tool. I don’t need anywhere near that much bottom. Something about like that. You do need to have enough bottom underneath an image because it forms sort of a pedestal for the rest of the image. And I want enough bottom so that I will support it. But I don’t necessarily want the base to be bigger than the primary subject. So if I just look at the physical size of this, now at least the lighthouse is bigger than the area down below supporting it. So come down to our new sky and just going to crop just off to those people. And where are we going to put the lighthouse? I think we’re going to actually make this more of a vertical. Alright, and we can also see here as we do this that the lighthouse is slightly rotated. So, let’s rotate the image. We use the guide so that— yes, that’s straight up and down—and then move things around so that they work. And yeah, I mean it’d be— I don’t like the crop; I’m going to undo that. Alright, we’re going to make believe those people aren’t there. I’ll actually cut to the chase. I will show you after this is done. Let me go back into Lightroom. So, you can see the after. Here is the, the entire image left to right with the people gone, with the sky compressed, but that’s how that is done using that content aware scale. So, this looks pretty good. Let’s see what happens. Let’s make a virtual copy of this one. Let’s go to our basic panel and turn this into a black and white and it’s lost its soul again. So, let’s go to the black and white mix. Let’s bring the sky down. Let’s bring the clouds down. There we go. That’s looking better. And we’re going to use a graduated filter here. I actually want to bring down the, contrast a little bit, but I’m also going to darken the whole thing. And let’s do one diagonally. Let’s hit New. Let’s do one diagonally this way to darken up the sky over here. Let’s bring that down a little bit. And now I think we have a little bit too much base again. Because it’s taller than the lighthouse is. Think about there. Bring a little down from the top. Do we need all of this on the far left? Maybe not quite that much. Maybe something will go ahead with our golden ratio.


And even a little less on the bottom. I think about right there is good and yes, it needs a vignette. I’m just going to cut to the chase and put that in. And I think, yeah, I think we’re done. I like it. Even though it was a nice day, I was kind of going for a little bit of loneliness of the place. That’s why I wanted the people out of there. The people were far too happy for this image. So that needed to go. But here’s our black and white just kind of standing alone. I love lighthouses. They’re like sculptures out in the landscape. And although the color one is valid, I have to admit that the one with the lighthouse all by itself with the fence line leading up to it and the bay here, it just looks a lot more interesting. So there’s a Photoshop trick if you haven’t seen that before— I use Content Aware Scale all the time. All right, great. Go ahead.


Eric Luden: So that’s that’s another great example and I want to thank Mark for his comments on the workshop. Is there—do you have one other example you’re going to show us?


Joe Brady: I have one more.


Eric Luden: Great.


Joe Brady: So, I was in Savannah a couple of weeks ago. And there’s a place called Tybee Island there. And Tybee Island has this big pier that goes out over the water. And what do you do whenever you come across a pier? Well, when you’re down on the beach, you try to find some way to shoot it underneath. Now this is slightly angled. So, let’s get the cropping tool. And just to, we’ve got to make sure our ocean is straight. So, I’m going to bring this up a little bit and down a little bit because I want to get as far left and right as I can. Alright. Now it’s fine. It’s interesting, but I think it can be better. So, what are the issues? Well, I specifically shot this this way because everyone shoots them underneath in the middle. And I kind of wanted to create a left and right of the two different things going on. So, I’m going to come up to hue saturation luminance. I want to bring the brightness of the sky down a little bit. So, let’s bring that blue down. Because again, I’m starting to think black and white. You can even see this little bit of a storm off in the ocean there. Also, this area here is a little too light. And because it’s so light, it’s dragging your eye there. So, let’s do a graduated filter at an angle here and bring down the highlights of that sand and the exposure a little bit. Just want to take it down enough so that it’s not competing so much with the rest of the image. So now let’s convert this to black and white, go to basic, black and white. And again, we’ve lost the life of the sky. So, let’s go to our black and white panel. And we’re going to push the sky way down. That’s going to turn this into something far more interesting. And because of this light area here again, it’s dragging your eye. Yep, sorry, it needs a vignette. So, we’re gonna vignette that. Technically I could get away with one just on the the edge there. Let me I’m going to bring it all the way down. I just want to see where this is. I want to make it much less round. I just want this in the corners. And I’m going to feather it in a bit and then back off to 20 or so and let’s go back to the black and white. I think I might want to even make the blues a little bit darker. And in fact, I’m going to make the entire overall image a little bit darker and a little more contrast. I want to add more drama to this. Alright, so let’s make a virtual copy, I’m going to…I forgot to do that first. I’m going to reset that. So, let’s reset that one. When you consider, here’s, there’s where we started, here’s what we started with. That was our raw file. And there’s where our black and white conversion ended up and it’s so much more interesting. Now, as I was here, I decided well, as long as I’m here, I’m going to have to do the typical shooting from underneath. So, I did, so I went underneath and the surf was coming in, I was shooting on a tripod. So I’ve got some blur, and doing the same exact conversions that you just saw. Look at the difference. That’s actually that one. I’ll admit that was actually run through Silver Efex. To go from here to here, love that. And then the same thing, this one a little bit more peaceful, the surf is not coming in so strong. First making it the strongest color image I could. And then this is just a straight black and white conversion in Lightroom from that color. So if you get your color image as good as it can be first, then that makes the black and white conversion better. Get as much drama and impact in your color. And then the conversion of black and white is going to be so much easier. And again, images that I thought when I first looked at them, were going to be fairly uninteresting in color, when converted to black and white, all of a sudden had so much more impact, so much more drama, and so much more of a graphical design to them than their color counterparts. And although I’m a big fan of color photography for a lot of my landscapes, there were certain things that just frankly, worked better as black and whites. Yeah, so why don’t we end there? I think we’ve, we’ve pretty well covered it.


Eric Luden: That’s great. Joe, thank you very much for all the all the demonstration today. Really thorough, showing people ways to work in both Lightroom and Photoshop. And I think you’ve given us some great, great, great tips. People are asking, there was one other question that someone asked. Tom asked, is there a reason why you do not adjust the black slider as much?


Joe Brady: Yeah, good question. There are certain sliders— you know, there’s certain ways of working, as we’ve all been doing this stuff for a long time. Rarely do I find my need, find the need to adjust the black slider because of the way I make sure that my captures happen when I get the original shot. If you take a look, say at an example of this one, look at the histogram. This histogram is perfect. It’s all the way over to the left, all the way over to the right. I could open up the black sliders, but I don’t want to take out the density of the blacks because in my opinion, and Eric, tell me if you feel the same way, black and white prints need some pure black in them to have the full amount of impact that they’re capable of producing. So I never feel the need to open up the blacks. Occasionally I’ll want to add, but the way I photograph is I am going for the full exposure. And again, if you look at the histogram here, it’s right up to the edge on either side, this is actually taxing the absolute tonal range of the camera and everything just fit in there. So really no need. You might also notice that there is a— there’s a there’s an entire panel missing in my Lightroom. And it’s because it’s not something I do in Lightroom. And that’s— let’s go ahead and let’s go ahead and take a look. I’m going to go to the customize develop panel. And notice that tone curve in my panel is missing. I don’t use curves in Lightroom. There’s nothing wrong with doing it. I just don’t. I find that for doing my color and tonal adjustment, I find the hue saturation luminance panel, or the— if we’re in a black and white—the black and white panel, I go to black and white. The black and white panel gives me the kind of control over those shadows better than the total curves. If I just click on these pillars here and start pushing up, I can lighten up doing it right in here. So, it’s just a way of working. But again, I don’t use the tonal curve as well. In fact, I’m not using it. I don’t see any reason to have it taking up space on my screen.


Eric Luden: That makes sense. And you know, one of the things I will say that, in terms of the, you know, for black and white, it really to me comes down to a question about printing, which is obviously what we do. And I would say that in the past, when people were making black and white prints on inkjet printers, that the inkjet that most inkjet printers still to this day, lose some detail in the shadows because of how they print, which is why at digital silver imaging, we actually offer true black and white silver gelatin prints. And when you get down in the real toe of that curve, and you start to lose detail on inkjet printers kind of below the range of, you know, from 10 to zero to 10, it will still resolve on a silver gelatin print. So you will get detail in the deep shadow areas with our process. So it’s probably just a good time to remind people that we do offer kind of one of the most unique things, which is once you’ve perfected these your files and using all of Joe’s great tools and tips, you can send us a file and we will send you back a real black and white silver gelatin print that’s exposed with a laser enlarger, light sensitive Ilford paper in true black and white chemicals. And we on the last webinar we did with Joe where he worked on this image, he’s going to show you an actual silver print that we produced for him of this iconic image.


Joe Brady: Yeah, how do you how do you show me? Can you see…? Can people see me?


Eric Luden: Yeah, we can see you. Okay, I believe.


Joe Brady: So yeah, so yeah, to prove, I’ll warn you, if you guys start sending prints to Digital Silver Imaging, you’re going to be hooked, you’re just going to have to have them done. Because it is such a difference than a black and white done on an inkjet. And I had— they printed this one for me. And here it is. And the color depth and the clarity and the detail in the shadows. And the smooth gradations are something much greater than I was ever able to get off of any kind of inkjet print. So, I’ve got, I’ve got the proof. And here on the screen, it just printed spectacularly.


Eric Luden: Yeah, so I just posted a link to our— what’s known as our value print service, where you can get silver gelatin prints up to 20 by 30 at a reduced price, and everyone who’s on this webinar today is going to get a special email coming from VII with a discount code for 15% off your your order with us. So obviously, we want to encourage you to pick some files, do some edits, and make some prints because you can see behind me and others when you get prints up on the wall, it’s a wonderful way to share your work and get them off of the screen. So…


Joe Brady: Oh if I may share one thing that I did not see. I see a question that’s related to it. Two things. One, if you look up my YouTube channel, just Joe Brady Photography, I’ve got a bunch of free editing tutorials, including two on black and white conversions, doing exactly the kind of things— in fact, I think I have this image, the demonstration of how this image was converted from the color. Here’s the color, here’s the black and white. So those are free on YouTube. Also, if and I don’t know, Eric, if you put the links up to my two websites, it’s just is one. The other is fotolearning with an f-o-t-o. Fotolearning has courses that I sell. There are 36 hour’s worth of them that cover all kinds of different topics that are available as well. So, there’s free stuff on YouTube, and there’s stuff to purchase on fotolearning. And the one thing I would ask you guys to give a try is my newsletter. It goes out every Friday. I only use your emails to send you the newsletter, but it’s got a lot of stuff in it. It typically has one or two free videos in it as well as some photo news and gear and things like that. So, give it a try. You can get to it from either of my websites. The newsletter is called FotoFriday. We’d love to have you give it a try.


Eric Luden: I’m just trying to pull up here. I got the fotolearning one up there and I’m just gonna post a link to your other website. And, and just to also, you know, in terms of Joe, as a teacher and instructor, I hear nothing but great feedback from people that attend his workshops. And during COVID, Joe is unfortunately fully booked for the rest of this year for his trips, going to some really great locations. But if you get on his newsletter, you’ll be aware of the other great places that Joe travels and he’s going to be in. I think he just said London and Scotland next year and a few other locations. So, we definitely encourage you to get on and follow Joe Brady and certainly follow Digital Silver Imaging for our updates and newsletters about our printing services and where we are. So, really want to thank everybody for attending today. I want to thank David from VII photo and from their group and Giana for all the help they provide Digital Silver Imaging. And I certainly want to thank the folks at Photo Wings who have made these technical webinars series and all the other ones that VII is putting on possible. So, we’re very grateful for all of that. And Joe, I really want to thank you again for another great workshop. Your knowledge and skill and you know explaining things and the keyboard shortcuts. Unbelievable.


Joe Brady: Thanks so much for having me, Eric. It’s always a pleasure. Hope to see you live again one of these days.


Eric Luden: Yep, me too. We’ll catch up soon. So again, want to thank you everybody for your time today. VII is going to be recording this webinar. It has been recorded. So definitely follow VII Insider and get on their mailing list and you’ll know as soon as the webinars are posted. And also stay in touch for all the great communications and productions and other work that VII Insider is putting out. They’re doing a phenomenal job. So thanks again, everybody. Wish you a great weekend coming up. Get out there, make some pictures. And as Joe said, think about things in black and white. Think about what might have been sort of a ho hum image and turn into something absolutely extraordinary like the image on the screen. So, thanks again. We look forward to seeing you. We have two more of our technical series coming up. One about printing the right papers with our friends at Hahnemühle and the next one will be actually about options for finishing and mounting and framing your your print. So, thank you very much.


Joe Brady: Thanks everybody. Bye bye

Sign up for news from VII Insider

First name *
Last name *
Email *