With the advent of color, black and white images have taken a back seat. However in the world of professional photography they are still much preferred. Nevertheless we still cannot totally eliminate the fact that there are a number of photographers who still prefer B/W over color. You might even ask as to why it is still preferred? Well, that is not a question that can be answered as there is no specific answer to it. After all it all started with black and white photography. Probably that’s the main reason it still holds a very special place for some of us.

Converting pictures into black and white can be the easiest thing to do. All one needs to do is to click on “Convert to Greyscale” using an image editor. But the point is – will they be good enough to draw a second look. Probably not. This workshop will basically show you the difference between using the traditional conversion method and making use of a simple plugin named B/W Styler. However the plugin isn’t free and will set you back by Rs. 2,300, but this little add-on has a lot of options to offer such as ND filters and diffusion files that would otherwise cost a bomb. In addition, the plugin can also be used with IrfanView. But before we proceed here are a few tips that you should take into account when taking pictures.

Choose your subjects –
This is vital if you plan to convert your images into B/W. They might appear quite appealing in color whereas a greyscale version of them might just turn out to be dull so it is best to keep the shot simple. For example objects or even a portrait comes out much better if they portray one solid color rather than have multiple colors. Secondly, the fewer the elements in your photographs, the better will be the overall outcome.

Light and Shadow –

Since the picture is devoid of color making use of light while also taking into account the shadow of the object will make the picture much more interesting. Moreover, try not to use flash as it eliminates the overall effect that you would normally achieve with shadows. Eliminating shadows in a black and white image will make the overall picture look rather flat.

Perspective –
Perspective plays a very important role in the world of photography. Here, the angle at which the picture is taken can either make it look very interesting or extremely boring.
Do keep in mind that the values that have been mentioned here are best used for outdoor shots. However the exact values will differ from image to image.

Once you have downloaded and installed the plugin run IrfanView. Navigate to “Image | Effects | Adobe 8BF Filters”. Now click on “Add 8BF filters” and navigate to the folder where it was installed. After you have added the filter, Select it and click “Start selected filter”. The required filters can be selected from the drop down menu placed on top.

Step 1: B/W Filters
When taking pictures in B/W most photographers normally use colored glass filters along with the lens to give the image a different effect. For example, to highlight the overall skin tones an orange filter would normally be used while a red filter would make the overall sky dark. For outdoor shots, it is best to use the Yellow filter as it makes the image look just about natural.

Contrast: This basically allows you to make fine adjustments based on the color differences in the image. However too high or too low may cause the image to artifact.

Brightness: Here again the level of brightness depends on the aspect that you want to highlight. Keep in mind that both contrast and brightness play a very important role when converting images to black and white.

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