Convert to black and white

When film was king photographers had to make a conscious decision to capture in color or in black and white as deciding one way or the other determined the film stock that was loaded in the camera. Once the decision was made there was generally no turning back. In the digital era things are a little more flexible. Some cameras do contain a black and white mode but I would always recommend capturing in color and then converting back at the desktop where you have more control over the process. Though at first glance changing a color picture to grayscale may seem a simple one-step task, many conversions lack the contrast and drama of the color original. Here we look at several different methods for the task, providing you more creative choice when converting to gray.

Figure 42.1 The trick to good conversions from color to grayscale is ensuring that the hues in the original picture are translated into distinct tones. For this reason no one conversion process will be suitable for all pictures. Whichever technique you use, make sure that the color contrast present in the original (top) is translated into monochrome contrast in the result (bottom).

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