Tips to Edit Street Photos in Black and White

Black and white photography is not just about pulling the saturation slider to zero. There’s so much more that goes into the process. Photographs that have the right level of highlights, shadows, and subject interest are the best candidates for black and white photography. And what better genre than street photography that ticks these criteria? In this video, photographer Gareth Danks shares his workflow on editing black and white photos:

Before moving on to the editing process, Danks shares a really interesting point. Don’t decide if an image should be edited in black and white while editing. Do that while composing the image. This way, it won’t be a hit & trial. And when you decide to do so, change the picture profile in your camera to monochrome. This will let you see in black and white, and it will also help to cull out your black and white images easily. The raw files will however remain in color.

“I am always looking for extreme contrast. I want the whites to be white, even if it means losing a slight bit of detail in there.”

Black and white photographs look really good when it’s a high contrast scene. A good mix of light and shadows add so much vibe to the image. So, when you’re editing images in black and white, be sure not to kill the essence. If you follow Danks’s workflow, you’ll see how you can adjust the black, white, contrast, and exposure slider to get the job done. He also shares how you can fine-tune the image using the HSL panel.

Besides the exposure adjustment, also ensure that you get rid of anything that you deem is not important. Crop them out. And keep those lines straight, will you? Nothing screams amateur like tilted lines and horizon.

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