{Before & After} Creating Dramatic B&W Images in Lightroom

November 8, 2012

in Before & After, Fix-It Friday, Lightroom, Photography Tutorials

How to Create Dramatic Black and White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

For this week’s “Before & After” photo editing tutorial, we’ve invited our friend, Kate T. Parker Photography, to share her process of creating dramatic black and white photos. Follow along as she demonstrates her Lightroom 3 workflow for black and white conversion.

I love the drama of a stormy sky. The look of a silhouette against the sky and tons of negative space are one of my favorite kinds of shots. You can’t always capture that in camera, so you have to make do with your edits. I love doing this shot for families, since you don’t have to be smiling or looking at the camera or even awake to have a great shot! :) Great with uncooperative kids and animals.

“Before” Photo

How to Create Dramatic Black and White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

Black & White Conversion

Step 1.

I converted the photo to black and white under “treatment.” Just click on “black and white.”

How to Create Dramatic Black and White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

Step 2.

To create the drama in the clouds and sky that I was looking for, you need to work with the blacks, clarity and contrast. I upped the blacks to 100. Brought the exposure down -3, increased the clarity to +100 and added +25 contrast.

How to Create Dramatic Black and White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

Step 3.

Clouds are looking better! Now I want to zoom in a bit on the girl and dog, but not too much. I cropped with a 4×6 ratio to lessen the ground and use more of the sky in the image.
How to Create Dramatic Black and White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

Step 4.

Call me crazy, but I liked her running from the left better than the right. Why? I have no idea, but that’s what I wanted. Head up to “Photo” and click “flip horizontal”.

How to Create Dramatic Black & White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

Step 5.

Alright, I like the clouds, but I want more DRAMA, more detail! Head over to the “Tone Curve”. I increased the highlights to +41, increased the lights to +50, brought the darks down to -50 and added +10 to the shadows. Play around with here and see what you like best for your images.
How to Create Dramatic Black and White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

Step 6.

Looking better, but seems a bit flat to me. I want to add some tone. Not a ton, but just a touch of color to the black and whites. Head over to “split toning”. I chose to go with 40 for the highlights and 21 for the shadows for this slightly brownish tinge to the image.
How to Create Dramatic Black and White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

Step 7.

The weeds bug me now. Let’s get them out. Head to the “Spot Edit” on the top right of Lightroom. Click on the healing tool. Then size it to the size you want, click on weeds, then make the other circle on some ground without weeds. Voila! No weeds…LR is the perfect gardener. :)
How to Create Dramatic Black & White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

“After” Photo

All done. Weedless, dramatic final image.
How to Create Dramatic Black and White Photos {Before & After Tutorial}

Kate Parker for I Heart FacesI am Kate. A wife, a mother, a photographer based out of Atlanta. I have a terrible memory which I why I started shooting pictures in the first place…then I found my passion. My downfalls? Laughing at horribly inappropriate moments and raw cookie dough. You can follow me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Now it’s your turn!

Hop on over to our free photography community tomorrow to participate in this week’s Fix-It Friday Photo Editing Challenge.  This challenge will be open for participation until November 15, 2012.

Would you like to be considered as an upcoming Featured Photographer in our “Before & After” photo editing series? Our schedule is filling up very quickly so please contact us ASAP.  We only consider those who include samples of their current editing and writing style and links to their blog/website. We love to feature members of our community whenever possible!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

kiria Cora March 30, 2013

really helpfull step by step good explanation and you can learn how to create an amazing black and white composition. thanks !!

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Declan Mc Glone November 8, 2012

{Before & After} Creating Dramatic B&W Images in Lightroom #photography http://t.co/dEluspk6

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Angie November 8, 2012

This "Before & After" photo editing tutorial rocks! —>RT @iheartfaces: Creating Dramatic B&W Images in Lightroom http://t.co/x1HhDyqF

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Mindy November 8, 2012

Probably because we read from left to right, so the eye naturally drifts that way. With her running the other way, it goes against the grain/seems unnatural/causes tension.

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Chris November 8, 2012

Excellent.

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lisacng @ expandng.com November 8, 2012

Great tutorial! Have you ever used the graduated filter? I like that for skies.

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