Critique Black and White Conversion question

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I just shared this photo in the October meme but thought I would share here for help and opinions. That project is more for prime lens shooting.

I'm testing out Silver EFEX pro for possible purchase. I haven't done many black and white conversions in the past. I love color but would also like to learn black and white processing. I did this image last night and would love critique on my conversion.

She has very white hair and tan skin. But I'm wondering if I got her face too dark.

DSC_1675-Edit-2-Edit-2.jpg
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I think it looks great—the nice thing about B&W is you can affect tones and not have to worry about color casts. Using color filters and/or control points allows you to tweak specific areas. In your conversion the darkest object is the ice cream—the focus of the story. I'm not sure having Rylee's face competing for attention would help.
 
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Terri,
I copied the image and did my own conversion to see what I would do. For my taste, I do think the face is a bit too dark - I can upload my version if you want to see it. I also went for a square crop (the space to the left seemed too dead to me) which I thought immediately made the image more intimate - more like the subject was sharing a private moment with the photographer.
 
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I think the brightness of the face is definitely within the realm of informed taste. (I happen to think it's also good taste, but that point is really irrelevant.)

The girl's hair is brighter in the color version than her face, so it's understandable that the same is true in the monochrome version. However, you can perhaps sort of trick the mind by toning down her hair just a bit and her right sleeve just a bit more to make the face relatively brighter even though it's not brightened at all. Try also toning down the wall and tabletop to her right, especially the object in the top left corner. Considering that you're emphasizing the subject, also tone down the bright area of the boy's face and neck. Last, try brightening her face just a tad to determine if you like it. All of those tweaks can easily be done using a control point in Silver Efex.

Caucasian skin typically works best using a green filter. However, be aware that that situation will also sometimes emphasize blemishes. If you want to emphasize cute freckles, that characteristic comes in very handy.

Now that I've gotten through all of that, I just have to mention that you are the last person I thought would ever take up monochrome versions. :) When you get to the point that your monochromes of the children are as good as your color photos, you will have a vast array of styles to record your family events.
 
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Just a bit too dark for me. Perhaps try a different filter or maybe just increase the exposure of the entire image just a bit before converting.

Even so, I'll have a scoop of that ice cream. It's my favorite flavor!!
 
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Terri,
I copied the image and did my own conversion to see what I would do. For my taste, I do think the face is a bit too dark - I can upload my version if you want to see it. I also went for a square crop (the space to the left seemed too dead to me) which I thought immediately made the image more intimate - more like the subject was sharing a private moment with the photographer.
Please share.
 
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I think you did this very well.
I think it looks great—the nice thing about B&W is you can affect tones and not have to worry about color casts. Using color filters and/or control points allows you to tweak specific areas. In your conversion the darkest object is the ice cream—the focus of the story. I'm not sure having Rylee's face competing for attention would help.
I'm glad to know that you think it looks ok.
 
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I think the brightness of the face is definitely within the realm of informed taste. (I happen to think it's also good taste, but that point is really irrelevant.)

The girl's hair is brighter in the color version than her face, so it's understandable that the same is true in the monochrome version. However, you can perhaps sort of trick the mind by toning down her hair just a bit and her right sleeve just a bit more to make the face relatively brighter even though it's not brightened at all. Try also toning down the wall and tabletop to her right, especially the object in the top left corner. Considering that you're emphasizing the subject, also tone down the bright area of the boy's face and neck. Last, try brightening her face just a tad to determine if you like it. All of those tweaks can easily be done using a control point in Silver Efex.

Caucasian skin typically works best using a green filter. However, be aware that that situation will also sometimes emphasize blemishes. If you want to emphasize cute freckles, that characteristic comes in very handy.

Now that I've gotten through all of that, I just have to mention that you are the last person I thought would ever take up monochrome versions. :) When you get to the point that your monochromes of the children are as good as your color photos, you will have a vast array of styles to record your family events.
I'll take your suggestions and try to fix the photo in Silver Efex. I hadn't tried control points yet. I'm not sure how seriously I'll get into Black and White, but it's fun to give it a try. New techniques are motiving to me. Got to work this morning and then care for my mom, but maybe tonight I can try the control points.
 
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Just a bit too dark for me. Perhaps try a different filter or maybe just increase the exposure of the entire image just a bit before converting.

Even so, I'll have a scoop of that ice cream. It's my favorite flavor!!
Thank you for your honest opinion. I'm going to work on it more this evening.
 
I'm just going to throw in a couple of things to think about for the future when it comes to shooting and converting to B&W: first, a lot of photographers choose a subject specifically with an eye to later converting it. Or, sometimes one will be later looking at the freshly-shot image in the computer and immediately sees that it would be an ideal candidate for B&W. Some subjects and images naturally lend themselves to being shared and appreciated in B&W. Why? B&W particularly shines when the subject is something fairly simple, with emphasis on lines, shadows, textures, shapes.....and not a lot of extraneous other stuff going on in the image. Look at some of Mike Buckley's excellent B&W tabletop images and you'll see what I mean. Abstract images can be really striking in B&W.

As we all know, photography is about the light. In the old days photographers didn't have a choice about presenting their images in either B&W or color, it was all B&W. Sometimes it's hard to "see" B&W when actually taking the shot because, well, our eyes see in color and our cameras usually show us a color image on the LCD screen and in the EVF. B&W is all about exploring the interesting interplay between light and dark, brightness and shadow, hardness and softness..... Simplicity works best in B&W, with two, or maybe three important elements in the scene, the emphasis being on the use of light and the way it affects the scene.

In B&W, contrast plays a big role, too. When many years ago I took a class in PHT 101, I would come out of the darkroom with a freshly-printed image that I'd just worked on at the enlarger and then bathed in the chemicals..... I'd show the print to the instructor. He'd look, nod and say, "nice composition, good interpretation of the assignment, but this needs more contrast." I'd trudge back to the enlarger, put another piece of photo paper under it, get back to work, then once again stand at the trays of chemicals, gently rocking the paper back-and-forth, listening to the chemicals swish softly over it, watching the image slowly coming to life on what had seemingly been a blank piece of paper......... Did I get it contrasty enough this time? By the end of the semester, if I had learned nothing else, I sure had grasped the importance of contrast! (Actually, good use of contrast is also important in shooting in color, too, but that's another topic for a different time.)

This is a cute picture -- it makes me want to rush to my local grocery store to grab a carton of Breyer's Reese's Chocolate ice cream right now!!!! Yummy! Throw in some peanuts and/or more Reese's pieces, add a little extra chocolate sauce, plop a nice bit of marshmallow sauce on top -- Ah, bliss!!! :D. Fun candid shot of your granddaughter and her brother, too. However it's not one which I would have chosen to convert to B&W..... That's not to say that one can't shoot or present photos of people in B&W -- photographers can and do all the time. People portraits, either formal or informal, can definitely be quite effective in B&W.

Keep experimenting with B&W, Terri -- I think you'll really like it the more you work with it!
 
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with emphasis on lines, shadows, textures, shapes
BINGO except that I would add tonal nuance. I would also eliminate the category of shadows but only because shadows convey texture and shape; indeed, sometimes the shadows are the shapes. Considering that Terri's experiment is a portrait, it's worth noting that lines, textures, shapes and tonal nuance can be important elements of excellent portraits.

The issue of contrast is just as personal with monochromes as with color images. I've seen plenty of monochrome images made in a style that displays very little contrast and does so very effectively. Some photographers build their brand by using such low-contrast styles of photography and doing so sets them apart from other photographers using the more traditional style.
 
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Terri...

I think it is lovely....I think your black and white is great.

For my own benefit I tried and for some reason instinctively ended up with a brighter face.....I am happy to post with your permission.


But I agree with Richard...the colour one has such lovely tones it is my favourite....but great work on your part.

Best wishes as always

Ray
 
BINGO except that I would add tonal nuance. I would also eliminate the category of shadows but only because shadows convey texture and shape; indeed, sometimes the shadows are the shapes. Considering that Terri's experiment is a portrait, it's worth noting that lines, textures, shapes and tonal nuance can be important elements of excellent portraits.

The issue of contrast is just as personal with monochromes as with color images. I've seen plenty of monochrome images made in a style that displays very little contrast and does so very effectively. Some photographers build their brand by using such low-contrast styles of photography and doing so sets them apart from other photographers using the more traditional style.
Yes, tonal nuance is an important factor, too -- I didn't think to mention that! I wasn't writing a scholarly paper, I was just tossing out thoughts as they came to me....

Indeed, one can be quite flexible in the use of contrast one way or another, and a lot will depend upon the nature of the subject being shot, too. Scenes shot in foggy conditions are going to have a lot less contrast than something shot on a bright day where there is loads of sunshine and ample opportunity to play around with gradations of light.... There can be real beauty in soft, low-contrast images.... So, yes, I should have brought up that sometimes less contrast is more desirable, it all depends upon the scene one is shooting. Also, in portraiture, especially of an older person, the photographer may want to have less contrast in some areas, too.
 

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