One area of photography I've struggled with in the past is the editing in black and white. I had never felt confident in my ability to make something feel timeless and crisp in those perfectly black and white tones. I often would get frustrated with myself feeling that my edits were muddy and not at all mirroring what actual black and white film would produce. I mean, I was right.
Recently, with some help from a good photographer friend of mine, I was able to troubleshoot where I was going wrong with my edits and I am happy to say I am finally in a place where I can execute my classic black and white vision.
The final image I am showcasing farther down in this blog post is one from a self-portrait set I took earlier today. It is modeled after a painting hanging in a local restaurant where a friend was CERTAIN I was the model for the painting. So as a fun comparison project, I took the portrait and laughed at the side-by-side. What do you think? Do I look like her??
ANYWAY. In the set of portraits I took, I decided to do a little practice edits on not only my skin retouching but also my black and white editing. Here is the timeline of edits for the final product.
First and foremost, I converted my image to black and white in Lightroom and punched up the whites to be a true white, and darkened down those blacks to be real blacks. With some added contrast, sharpening and grain I got a great classic feel. Just for kicks I altered the red levels in the black and white edit and to make them a bit deeper and enhanced my irises since I naturally have blue eyes and I wanted that to show in the final product. After the black and white coloring was done, I opened the image in Photoshop to work on the skin. It's important to me that my models (and myself, I guess) still look human after I am done editing the photo. So even though I removed my forehead wrinkles I still left my skin texture in.
Hi, I'm a person and I have pores. Is that ok with you, beauty industry?
And voila! Here is the final image.