3 Quick Ways to Go Black-and-White
There are a couple of simple ways to get black-and-white digital photos.
- Use your camera’s built-in B&W setting.
- Convert to B&W using the pre-set filters in iPhoto/Picasa/Photoshop Elements.
- Use Photoshop (or GIMP or whatever) to desaturate or change to grayscale.
These methods all work, but you end up with flat, muddy photos. Bumping up the contrast will improve matters, but to get a black-and-white picture that really pops, you’ll have to go a little deeper.
Introducing RGB Channels!
Any RGB image (i.e. color) can be divided into three channels. If you open the Channels palette (Window -> Channels) you will see four channels for any color image: RGB, Red, Green and Blue.
The channels represent the proportion of each color that makes up the entire color image. Each color appears lighter in its namesake channel (i.e. red-colored objects look paler in the Red channel) so the three channels will look very different.
- The Red channel generally shows pale skin tones and dark skies.
- The Green channel has a good mix of tones and tends to look closest to the original color version.
- The Blue channel features very pale skies and dark foliage.