Processing Mirrorless Images in Black And White

From the Best of Mark Toal

I’ve had many questions about how I process my black and white images. I wrote a blog post about how to set your Micro Four-thirds camera to black and white for our sister blog, Saving the World, One Pixel at a Time but today I want to share how I process the images.

Before image LR[1]

You can either start with a color or black and white JPEG file or a color RAW file. I prefer to set my camera to black and white (monochrome) so that I can see something close to the final result on the LCD screen or electronic viewfinder. I use Adobe Lightroom for importing and cataloging my images. If you’re serious about photography and don’t use Lightroom I would highly recommend it. Keep in mind that I don’t like to spend much time processing my photos. If you search online you’ll find other great ways to do this. Choose what feels best for you.

After LR image[1]

  1. Import your images into Lightroom and choose the file that you want to work on.
  2. For 90% of my images I adjust exposure, bring the highlights down a little, bring shadows up a little, add or subtract a small amount of clarity and then set sharpening to 50. For this image I reduced the clarity adjustment to soften the image.
  3. If you want a warmer tone, move the temperature slider slightly to the yellow side of the scale.
  4. I like to adjust the post-crop vignetting to slightly darken the edges and bring attention to the subject.
  5. As a final touch I do any cropping or straightening needed and I’m done. You can see the exact adjustments I made in the before and after photos.

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