Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Technique Tuesday: Magical B&W Image Enhancements

Good Morning Everybody,

Float2We finished our first day at Texas School yesterday and a long day it was.  We began class about 8:30 p.m. and most of us instructors wrapped the teaching day 12 hours later at 8:30 p.m. No, it wasn’t time to turn in just yet – the Mardi Gras parade started at 9:00 p.m. followed by a party till about 1:00 a.m.  I’m kind of curious to see who’s going to be at class on time this morning;~)

Float1I have to tell you – it was a hoot.  All the classes was responsible to build from a small wagon a version of a Mardi Gras floats for the parade thru the hotel lobby.  I thought our class came up with some pretty good ideas.  We draped a wedding gown and tux over a light stand. Then we lit our float from above and below with three gelled Quantum strobes which we fired rapidly with remotes.  The finishing touch was the New Orleans jazz boom box we had playing loudly under the weeding gown as we paraded through the hotel. Mardi Gras beads and feathers completed the look. Hey, I think we had the best of the floats is the parade ;~) Unfortunately this is an instance where a photograph just doesn’t tell the entire story as our float looked much better in real life – too bad I don’t have a video to show you.

Madi Gras PartyJust to add to the fun, many of the instructors and students dressed the Mardi Gras theme for the party too.  That’s me with my buddies King Ralph Romaguera and Hanson Fong. Just all in good fun.

Today it’s back to class with a full day of on location shooting. So let’s get on with today’s Technique Tuesday before I run out of time.

Magical B&W Image Enhancements

There are many ways to convert an image to B&W and there are any number of tutorials on the subject.  Regardless of all the different ways one could use to obtain a good B&W image, my method is super simple and always gave me the exact result I wanted.

With the introduction of Lightroom a few years ago, B&W conversions could be handled even more easily and manipulated to your heart’s content by sliding a few color channel sliders around in the B&W panel in Lightroom.  I even did a cool tutorial on the subject right here in my post “Ansel Adams In A Box” several months ago.  After jumping to this previous link, scroll down a bit to watch the video tutorial.

Beautiful Day0093_DZ-Walker W10When it comes to “people photography”  and that includes wedding photography, I rarely use those color sliders in the B&W panel of LR3. Instead, I prefer a different set of slider controls.  I keep it really simple and love the results I achieve.  Sometimes I like a soft ethereal result and other times I like a straight B&W image.  In this tutorial I’ll walk you through my simple steps and show you how to get some great results with your wedding images.

B&W images should be part of every wedding.  A B&W image lets you focus directly on the action and the subjects without being distracted by a multitude of colors in the scene.  With B&W images we get to enjoy the simplicity of the image itself. 

Not all images are enhanced as B&W images.  I like to say, “That when you convert an image to a B&W image, it either “sings” or it doesn’t “sing” at all – there seems to be no in-between.”  Why not hit the PLAY button below and see what I’m talking about. Enjoy!


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  It’s a super busy day with my class on location all day.  I hope to have a few cool images for you from today’s shoot so be sure to check back tomorrow and let’s see what I come up with.

Yes, there is another BIG school wide party again this evening.  It’s a concert in a park with a live band rocking and rolling to after midnight. It should be another great night of fun with over 1000 students and instructors in attendance.  Whew, three more days of this – I hope I survive!! ;~)

See ya’ tomorrow,  -David


  1. Thanks for this! Looking forward to Part 2.

  2. Nice As usual David..
    i really get benefit from this video!
    one of the best

    Thank you David


  3. What fun being in the parade with you all. We've really enjoyed you being here at Texas School.