The Digital Photo Guy

B&W the Right Way

by on Oct.17, 2011, under Articles, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing

What Makes a Good B&W Image?

If you’re honest, you have no clue as to what makes a good B&W photo. If you’re a bit advanced, you can recognize a good B&W when you see one but couldn’t explain it to save your life. If you’re very advanced, you can address tonality, luminosity and shadow details but can’t break it down into simple words that anyone can understand. If you’re George Jardine, you can’t explain B&W in such a way that even the simpletons among us will slap themselves on the forehead and exclaim, “D’oh! Why didn’t I get it sooner?”

If you’re a serious photographer, B&W should be a finely honed tool in your toolbox. With Adobe Lightroom, converting a photo to B&W is a snap and you might try converting more just for grins. In fact, with LR, it’s easy to point to a whole folder and convert all images without adding gigabytes of duplicate files. The Virtual Copy facility allows you to try many different treatments on every photo and only save the non-destructive instructions for each treatment.

The point to all this is that George Jardine, a former Adobe Pro Photography evangelist and one of the original Adobe Lightroom development team members has a new video that clearly and succinctly explains B&W. Register for the video at  bottom of this page.


The above images are my original conversion on the left and my new conversion after watching George Jardine’s video. I thought the original looked pretty good but after watching George’s video, I knew how to make it better. I hope you’ll agree.

Speaking of Serious Photographers

A member of a photography forum I frequent took umbrage to my use of the term, “serious photographer.” She felt she was a serious photographer and, somehow, I had dissed her simply because she was unable or unwilling to pay $295 for an upcoming Lightroom 3 Workshop in San Diego. This got me to thinking, “What is a serious photographer?”

To me, a serious photographer is one who does three things:

  1. They are always trying to improve their work even if it means spending money to take top-notch classes and workshops.
  2. They are always putting their work into the harsh light of public review for honest feedback and critique.
  3. They are never concerned about how their work compares to others’ except as a goal to be attained.

A serious photographer is focused on his or her own work and how they can improve it. Don’t be a dilettante who plays at photography. Jump in and immerse yourself in the art of photography.


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