B&W Color Processing. How to get Richer Black & White images.
by Dirk De Paepe
It’s been a while since my last post, but today I’d like to share how I get richer black & white images, by applying a customized color conversion process for the various subjects within a picture. The level of execution can vary from really basic to as detailed as you find it necessary. A more detailed procedure involves the demarcation of multiple sections, to each of which will be applied its own conversion process. I see this procedure as an endeavor to do maximal justice to all subjects in the picture and as such to enrich the whole image. It’s a pursuit to getting precise control over ultimately all grey shades, by converting them from the full color file in a “manually controlled” way.
It has always been Photoshop to me.
Let’s say it straight forward. This article is meant for those who like the post-production process or are at least interested in it.
But first a bit of history. (If you want to go straight to the processing, you can skip this chapter. 😊)
I’m a Photoshop guy. Shortly after this software appeared on the market – in 1988, if I remember well – we got to know it in our publishing company and I was immediately impressed by its concept and possibilities for prepress purposes. It can sound odd nowadays, but we were into digital post-production, long before we applied digital photography.
From the start of our publications, I was convinced that DTP (desktop publishing) would be the future in printed publishing. I decided to go for the Mac platform, a choice that in the subsequent decades has proved to be the right one. QuarkXPress, Photoshop and Illustrator constituted the core of our system for many years. Later, Indesign replaced XPress. From that moment on, the Adobe Creative Suite package contained about everything we needed for our prepress work.
Often we received ready images from our clients, that we needed to scan to create their advertisements or to use in editorials. And of course we also scanned our own pictures. As we published for a niche in the smaller Benelux countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg), we always worked on a tight budget, which meant that the received pictures were often “not of optimal quality”. Still, clients always expect an “optimal final product”. So, to get the desired result, and eventually get payed anyway, we needed to process their pictures – sometimes very heavily.
In those early days, it was mainly a matter of self-education, and exchanging experiences with fellow dtp-ers. In addition to what we nowadays consider as typical post-production, there was also a big matter of creating files that were as light as possible, yet not too light. In fact, they had to be right on the spot. “Image size” was a very important parameter, since every picture needed to be calculated and exactly resized in regard to it’s final print size. Magazines were typically printed with a 150 lpi (lines per inch) raster, so to get the colors right, 300 dpi were needed in the resized (!) picture. And when pictures were layered in XPress (the DTP program that brought text, pictures and other illustrations, like logo’s, together), overlapped sections needed to be cut away, to simplify the processors’ calculation task. Anything too heavy would overload the system, resulting in a blocking Ripping process (RIP stands for Raster Image Processor. The RIP-machine turned the images into the 4 rasterized films – cyan, magenta, yellow and black – that we needed to make the plates for the presses.) In our early years, we used a Linotronic Ripper. This machine could easily take up to two hours to produce the four films for one full color A4 page. And this was without any indication of the progression of the job! With processors that were tremendously less powerful than today’s, if you overloaded the file and their was no film after say two and a half hours, you had to cancel the process, find out where you could have left too many pixels or too many required calculations and revise the files. On the other hand, anything too light would result in a typical low-res image and would be disapproved by our clients – and our readers, of course. So we were pretty much dancing on a limp cord. Learn or quit your job, that was the matter. You simply couldn’t afford too many blockages of the RIP-machine, or you wouldn’t meet the deadline.
It was a constant quest for new procedures, to get rid of all the imperfections of the pictures, and to apply special effects for specific goals. What we did for our publications, was not so much creating spectacular visual effects, rather than making the pictures look more natural and clear or more expressive, or to put more emphasis on certain parts or subjects and less on others, in regard to the desired message. As mentioned, we always looked for new ways of execution and often needed to “think creatively” to solve acute problems. When your remuneration depends on it, you learn fast or get out of business, especially when you enter on new paths, like dtp definitely was in those days.
Photoshop was the most powerful picture processing tool on the market for us – and IMO by far the most professional one for publishers. As far as I’m concerned, it retained the leadership of the image processing software up till today, and I don’t expect this to change any time soon. The fact that it’s perfectly integrated in the other Adobe software, required for pre-press, made it during all these decades my way to go, the evident choice. This integration comes with an easy of work that IMO has unpriced value. Adobe has for many years now been thé steady rock for publishers, reliable as a true friend. So for picture processing, indeed, it has always been Photoshop to me.
Black and White color processing
I gave this post this somewhat intriguing short title, for the sake of conciseness, but also to draw a bit more attention. 😊 The “full size title” would have been: “Getting more control over the conversion of full color files into black & white pictures, by applying sectional color processing”. Not really appealing as a title, don’t you think?
OK, let’s get to business now.
At the Speedshop Springmeeting…
I got the idea of writing this article, after visiting an American car show, last spring, at the Speedshop event in Stekene, Belgium. Speedshop Belgium is famous for its swift import to Europe of parts for all American cars. The show featured a very colorful car collection, as well as a very colorful collection of people. 😊 So if I wanted to show both at their best, I reckoned they required different processing: the cars shiny and bright (metal), the people more soft and friendly (skin). And then there was also the environment – sometimes trees, grass and bushes, sometimes streets and buildings and sometimes both. A very favorable setting to demonstrate this procedure.
Because it was mainly an old-timer show, I decided to make it a B&W report, since most of the pictures, that I can remember from the era of those cars, were monochromatic. Yet, I still wanted to suggest a colorful event, and thus I found a thorough, customized conversion to be mandatory.
All shots were taken in a time span of about one and a half hours – a typical situation when making an event report, which I’m used to from my publishing work. I find this kind of fast shooting really fun to perform. It’s what I love. It has a lot in common with wedding photography, I guess – having to deliver the best possible performance, no matter the circumstances. (BTW, I have the utmost respect for a good wedding photographer.)
It can seem strange for this kind of shooting, but I never use autofocus. This series was shot with the Carl Zeiss ZM 2/50 Planar. I didn’t use the Loxia Planar, since on that particular day, I just felt that my smaller and more vintage looking silver ZM would appear less obtrusive and draw less attention. I thought that the more “amateurish” look would give me more discretion and allow for even more spontaneous acting people in the picture. Like always, I’m particularly interested in the people – how they act and experience the event – more than in how the cars look, although for sure I love those as well. The people are the main subject, the cars are the essential “conditioning” environment.
Colors that manifestly distinguish in a full color picture, often result in very close shades of grey in the B&W image. The customized conversion process in Photoshop indeed allows you to distinguish grey shades in a B&W picture in an equally clear way as their corresponding colors in the original full color picture do. What I particularly like about this customized conversion method, is that it gives ME the control over the process. I like control. I require it. In some cases, I can even get greater distinction in B&W then what was there in real life. I’ll sometimes perform this for the purpose of expression. You can find a good example hereof in the picture “Beyond Thunderdome”, the third last picture.
Customizing the grey shades is basically really simple: manipulate the color sliders (red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta), which Photoshop provides in the conversion process, to darken or enlighten specific colors, without effecting others, and as such create the pursued distinction between the subjects or the grey shades within subjects.
(Picture 01.) (Please always place the picture before the text, Steve – thanks!)
Separate sliders for red, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta, when converting to B&W after clicking on Image/Adjustment/Black&White in Photoshop. (Sorry for having a Dutch version of Photoshop. In English it says “Default” instead of “Standaard”).
A very simple procedure indeed and for some pictures, it’s all that’s needed.
“Enjoy your flight” (12:36h)
(Don’t forget to click on the pictures, to get the right IQ.)
Concerning the color treatment: this picture clearly took benefit from its processing, as basic as it was, because originally the pretty light red of the moving car in the forefront and the deep yellow of the one, positioned at the left behind it, resulted in a too close grey shade, partly nullifying the flair of this “flying beauty”.
“Basic conversion process”
First you see the full color picture. Secondly a default conversion. You notice the two cars having close grey tints. Thirdly the customized conversion with the Red slider lowered from 40 to 17 and the Yellow raised from 60 to 83. IMO, it does a lot more justice to the main car, although the difference with the original conversion is still subtle. (It would be very easy to make the difference a lot bigger, should you wish to do that.)
The processing for this picture was the simplest of all 20 shots in this article. Not spectacular at all and executed in less than a minute. Still, I believe it was required.
The conversion process itself may be pretty simple, yet there’s really a bit more to it, since various objects in the same picture often require different processing. The pictures that go with this article involve people’s skin and clothing, cars, nature (trees, grass, skies), streets and buildings. All very common subjects, yet very different in character, color and texture. That’s why they may all benefit from a specific, customized treatment. Of course it’s not always necessary to process everything individually in one and the same picture, but it might be very beneficial as well.
Luckily, Photoshop offers all the necessary tools to precisely demarcate different sections of the picture, tools like “quick selection”, “magnetic lasso” and “invert selection” (amongst others, but I personally use these a lot). If you’re familiar with them, you know what I mean. If not, you can look up some tutorials about those tools on YouTube. There’s plenty.
Still, here’s some extra advice. Since those tutorials usually demonstrate these tools with an even, uniform background (eg a plane white background) and since non-studio pictures normally have a pretty “busy” background, you can take great advantage from working with finer settings. I use the magnetic lasso a lot for demarcation, and normally apply a width of 1 point and a contrast of 1%. Also, to allow for greater precision when demarcating a section, I’ll usually magnify the picture to somewhere between 200 and 700% view, depending on the image character and the display (standard or retina). BTW, I find that a picture should not be judged by pixel peeping, but for processing purposes, a larger view is very helpful indeed. During the demarcation process, I’ll also ad marking points by clicking on crucial places and I’ll go back a bit (erase points) with the delete key, when necessary to correct the demarcation line. This is also how to scroll the picture: draw a falls line, just to provoke the scrolling, erase the falls part and draw the right line.
With those tools and some practice, it’s possible to define an unlimited number of sections – precisely yet swiftly. By exploring the possibilities of adding and subtracting sections, you’ll understand that you can execute the FC to B&W converting process in as many steps as you want, each time with the possibility to tune the colors differently. Of course it makes a lot of sense to customize other parameters as well, having these sections at your disposal anyway. For instance, when there’s no possibility for controlled lighting, like when you need to shoot fast in real world circumstances, it gives you much greater control about lighting and colors (grey shades) for the various components within the frame. Changing the exposure of specific colors within various sections makes for a much more powerful and more clean control, as you will experience with some practice. Photoshop has an enormous amount of available settings. The control possibilities are virtually endless, as is the potential for experimenting.
(Of course, section demarcation is also valuable when processing full color pictures, but this article is about B&W. I’m sure though, that you can easily imagine the FC possibilities as well.)
So the processing is done in sections. As said, this doesn’t have to be limited to just the conversion from FC to B&W. You can as well treat levels, curves, local contrast, sharpening, etc. You name it. It’s even a good idea to first determine a section if you want to use the dodge, burn and sponge tools, to avoid that the effect spreads out into unwanted areas.
For effective processing, working in sections is of great benefit.
I’ d like to demonstrate in detail now, why and how I perform sectional color processing for B&W pictures.
“Don’t we match perfectly?” (12:15h)
With this picture, here shown in final result (do not fail to click to get the right IQ), I show the process in 10 steps.
Original unprocessed picture. I applied zebra’s in the EVF, to avoid blown up zones. This engendered a somewhat underexposed picture. Yet, the sensor of the Sony easily allows for full recovery of the dark areas later on.
A conversion to B&W with the standard “preset” option (default). Thereafter I tried to do a good job with the Brightness/Contrast sliders (a typical method for many photographers who want to work fast). The result is poor. I don’t wanna work like this and consider this a dead end. So let’s forget about this step. I just added this one to compare.
Going back to the original picture, defining the two cars in a separate section with the Magnetic Lasso Tool, and clicking on the “Image/Adjustments/Black&White” button, yet with no changes made.
To get more deeper and powerful tints in the Dodge RAM (right car), the red and yellow sliders were adjusted. Also the local contrast is adjusted in this stage, to give the cars more shine, without effecting the rest of the picture.
First, by clicking “Select/Inverse”, the rest of the image was selected and then the young lady was subtracted from the section for later separate processing. The standard conversion to B&W was activated. You can wonder why I include the cars in the section. In fact, it doesn’t matter for as far as the color processing goes, since they were already converted to B&W and thus they are no longer receptive to any color processing. As long as no other processing is required, this is perfectly OK. Still, it’s best to make use of the “Inverse” function anyway, since it’s a fast and sure way not to miss any dots for conversion on the demarcation lines between the girl and the cars.
By raising the blue slider from 20 to 55, the tint of the wall in the background is positioned between of the tints of the two cars, doing them both more justice. And by raising the red from 40 to 70, the guy in the right down corner is becoming a lot more prominent.
After yet another “Select/Inverse”, the girl is demarcated for individual treatment, here with unaltered B&W conversion.
Except for the green and the magenta, all sliders were moved to make her a lot more bright, in a much more controlled way than when just altering the exposure or the brightness. By lowering the local contrast, not only the face became a bit more “human”, but also the dress got a much more “fabric feel” to it – very important to contrast with the metallic shine of the cars. If face and dress would require individual treatment, of course separate sections aught to be made for them.
Some accents in the girl’s face were attended, mainly her lips were darkened. It was not necessary to do this with color processing, since it was a simple job. Still the lips were treated in a demarcated section.
When all items in the picture are in balance (achieved with step 09), some final general processing can be done to finish off the picture. Still, a few more details were adjusted in separate sections, like the girl’s legs and the mirror reflection on the RAM’s door. This picture shows the final result of the image. (See “Don’t we match perfectly?” , here above for better IQ)
This picture also illustrates how, at the moment of the shooting, my goal is nòt at all to get a picture as close as possible to a good final result, but to get a RAW-file that has all the necessary potential to create the desired final result with. Big difference. Because attempting the first may well impede the last.
Some more examples
Since all pictures in this post were taken in a very short time frame, I thought it would be a funny idea to add the time of shooting and to put them in the order that they were shot.
It’s of course impossible to show all the individual steps for all shots, but, as usual, I add some comments to tell you what I did, as well as why I took the picture.
Please look at the picture first, before reading about the processing.
“Hands off!” (11:21h)
Two different jobs: one for the car (shiny and bright – the color processing enabled the shades to be as distinctive as the colors were in real life) and one for the people (soft and friendly – a totally different color processing was needed than for the car).
I found this a very nice and human scene: the older boy taking responsibility for his younger brother, avoiding that he would deface the customized paint job of this vintage car.
It’s particularly the different layers of rust in the Oldsmobile (or is it a Buick?) that I found interesting in regard to color processing. And evidently, all cars needed to have their distinctive tint. The color processing allowed me to give them the exact grey shades that I wanted. This obtained accuracy in grey tints is what I particularly like in this procedure. I found this a very interesting color play here, especially because of the rusty car. You can guess, the boy’s colors were treated separately.
The timing for this picture was of course determined by the boy, walking through the “car garden”. His grin/smile can only suggest the fantasy world, that he is creating in his mind.
It’s clearly not only men that like vintage American cars. This one, a ’58 Chevy, has always been one of my favorites. It’s a rich azure blue one, and needed a very different processing from the lady’s blouse and then again from her face, that needed to reveal her expression from the dark, without avoiding the shadow all together. I didn’t want to resolve the shadow on her face (although quite possible), because it underlines the “real life” situation (opposed to a staged one). I felt that just revealing her expression in the shadow was perfect.
Like usual, it’s the man’s facial expression that intrigued me the most. That’s why I focused on him, and the car’s interior is slightly blurred (still giving enough information for the story, without attracting all the attention – a dosed aperture was required instead of a wide open lens). His face, taken through the windshield, with quite some ghost lights in the way, demanded very elaborate processing, to reveal it’s full expression. Especially his left eye, under the reflection lights, needed additional burning at point level. It was a matter of making the eye to appear, without eliminating the reflection light. Again, the car interior’s processing was quite different. It not only required particular color treatment but also exposure compensation.
The people are in the lead role, of course, especially the lady in the center of the picture. Both she and her husband are apparently having doubts about the looks of the car there’re watching, which is hidden from you by the guy in the foreground (and doesn’t matter at all for the story – on the contrary). This guy on the right is the only object that is blurred, because picturing in full detail would make him much too prominent. He’s there, just to express the bustle of the event and shows all the detail that is required. For the rest, the DOF reaches up to the people in the very background, adding to the feel that there were cars to see on all places, wherever direction you were looking in.
Concerning the processing, besides the separate treatment of the lead role players and the typical “metallic” color processing for the cars, it was the interior of the van that demanded specific care. Both the colors and the exposure (mainly the exposure in this case though) were handled to reveal just enough information, just avoiding that it became merely a black hole, but still not to draw too much attention. This interior also received a modest luminance treatment in a separate section, to diminish the noise. This was no problem, since the decrease of detail, as a result of the luminance, was no matter at all in this case. Overall, the sectional treatment proved very much to be worth while here.
“Dream away” (11:46h)
The somewhat introvert posture of the man makes me believe that he’s fantasizing about owning a car like the one he’s looking at. His face needed special treatment (comparable with the ladies in “Stylish” and “Feel good time”, 3 shots hereafter), since his skin had not the best tan and exposure in the RAW file. Each of the cars needed its own distinctive tint, certainly the first five in the row. I took special care of the difference between the light pink one in the front and the white one a bit further. Especially by deepening the tint of the flank of the pink Chevy, I wanted to make clear that this is not a white car.
“What the ….” (11:57h)
In this picture, besides separate treatment of the people, faces and cars, I gave special sectional attention to the color processing of the sky. Without it, it would just have been plain even tinted.
“Bridal Paradise” (11:58h)
When deciding about the grey shades for the deep yellow bus and the blue sky, I wanted them to be not far from one another, still clearly distinctive. But as you probably can guess, it was the bus interior and the guy that needed the most attention – the first mainly to get everything visible but still keeping it in a more dusky environment, the guy regarding his facial expression and skin tone. I’m sure you can imagine the different sections that were needed.
“Feel good time” (11:58h)
This couple is clearly enjoying the sight of so many different exotic cars. The cars occupy about half of the picture surface and make for the first processing section, again with slightly increased local contrast for their metal shine and specifically dosed colors to give them distinctive grey shades. Their original colors are going from (bottom to top) light red, over metal grey (Mustang), deep lipgloss red, dark blue, black, light blue, etc. None of the cars is fully in the picture, so that the couple really gets the attention. Still the beauty of their design, colors and metal shine largely determines the atmosphere of the picture. But it’s the couple, and mainly the lady, that is the real subject. I find them to nicely illustrate the typical feel good ambiance at the event. With the exposure and color treatment of her dress, as well as with her hair, I wanted to show the bright sunny weather. Her face needed separate processing to lift her expression out of the shadow, without making it too harsh. It was a matter of playing with red and yellow and very slightly lowering the local contrast, but still working with the curves. Also worth mentioning is the color treatment of the tree leafs. By slightly lighting up the yellow, again some brightness was added, without decreasing the amount of different gray shades. Yet, not everything needs to show detail. The husband plays a secondary role. Therefore I wanted to only show detail at the side of his T-shirt. The rest of the shirt was of no importance. Recovering nuances in the front of it (which is easy enough to perform) would IMO cross the line. Here and there an “imperfection” in the picture enhances the non-posed “real life” feeling.
“A matter of priority” (12:02h)
Pretty simple sectional processing here. First the general picture, then the car and finally the girl. (There’s no importance regarding the consecution.) Besides handling the colors, the car needed increased local contrast, whereas the girl just the opposite.
Yet another rusty Chevy from the 50’s in this picture. I guess you can notice that the car got different processing from the rest of the picture, mainly for the local contrast. Of course, when one subject is divided into two parts (like the car in this picture – here it’s divided by the person at the right), one needs to create two sections at the same time, because the processing needs to be exactly equal for both the left and right sections of the car. I guess this is obvious, but for the sake of completeness, I mentioned it anyway. Also special care needed to be taken to slightly increase the distinction of the left person’s head from the background.
Another rusty one in “Impressed”. This time it’s a Chevy panel truck from the 50’s. A standard color to B&W conversion gave very little distinction between the different tints of the car. The original blue color and the large rusty surfaces appeared to end up at quasi the same grey tint. And also the darker transition between those two colors needed extra accentuation. So a specific color processing was mandatory. A totally different story for the two leading role players in the right half of the frame.
This picture is about how the arrival of a simple old-timer can totally impress two hefty guys – which their body language gives away all too clear. Therefore all the color nuances in their body needed to be present and well balanced. Their colors also needed to be sufficiently distinct from the surroundings, especially the building in the background. Only then, the guys would really pop up and be able to play their leading role, like they were meant to, since I only took the picture because of them. BTW, the ZM Planar makes them clearly pop in 3D, although the focusing was done in a pretty large zone – that is, with a pretty stopped down aperture. (BTW, you can tell that I’m not a photographer who believes a lens should always be wide open anyway. Instead, I rather consider which aperture tells the best story. But that aside.)
“Family picnic” (12:20h)
A romantic scene out of daily life. It makes me think a bit of certain 19th century paintings. I guess the sections are obvious: sky, trees, cars, people, rest – each with different processing of colors and whatever other relevant parameters. A special treatment for the car panel in the left down corner, since its original very light color was much too bright, drawing much too much attention and creating great unbalance. By darkening it, I wanted it to blend in.
“Cosy family shop” (12:23h)
Same style as the previous picture. Here I wanted to control the tints in regard of the content contrast between the rough truck load and the romantic gathering. Most of the processing went to getting every person’s expression very clear (mainly by enlightening the people’s faces in the background, who were pretty dark), without destroying the effect of sunshine versus shadow. Also the tint of the parasol was treated to clearly stand out in grey tint and texture from the background.
Rust seems to have become kind of a religion for many participants. This Ford pickup truck even carries the “El Oxidado” signature (“The Rusty One”) on its doors. The rusty colors are carefully dosed and cultivated. In the processing department, of course separate treatments for car exterior, interior and surroundings are mandatory. The interior was the most demanding, since the young woman plays the leading role, showing her concentration when backing up into their parking spot on the show ground. She totally needed to be recovered from underexposure, her colors needing to show her tanned skin, with enough detail and contrast to reveal her expression, yet showing her in a still pretty dark environment. The challenge here was not to overdo the recovering, but still keep her “in the dark”, giving just enough nuance to reveal her expression. Finally her sunglasses got special treatment to reveal the utmost detail. Pretty amazing what modern sensors make possible these days!
“Beyond Thunderdome” (12:28h)
The same truck model as in the former picture here. But this time the vehicle is even more rusty (this is even real rust, I guess) and quite a bit stripped. It somewhat reminded me of that one Mad Max movie. The processing was very interesting here, since the side window was closed. In this exceptional case, I was more going for extremes, to amplify the expression. Of course this demanded for a specific side window section, with a largely increased local contrast in general, to clear up the content: the car interior on the one hand and the window reflections on the other. Together, interior and reflections created a bit of a surreal image. It was the dosing between reflections and interior that was the most interesting and which I performed with great care. I created quite some differently treated sub-sections within the window to that purpose. For instance the head of the driver needed special yellow treatment to clearly reveal the flame-like reflections. Also the interior back panel demanded a specific treatment, of the green in this case, to enucleate the reflected bushes. Yet another specific section for the tattooed arm. And a next one to reveal the details of the drivers door and steering wheel… Of course the car’s exterior required its own processing, to clearly distinct the red roof from the side panels that have lost their color all together, but exposed different amounts of tarnish and rust, resulting in an interesting play of stains. Pictures like this are a lot of fun to perform, as long as one loves the post-production process. Here I gave reality a clear twist, for reasons of expression.
“Pop-up barber shop” (12:45h)
A completely different, but still very typical scene from the Speedshop Springmeeting. Lots of small shops are popping up. Amongst them this barber shop. The picture required very specific treatment, though, mainly due to the very poor light conditions. First of all, the face of the guy in the lead role needed lots of recovering work, to make his expression stand out. But instead of just working with exposure, I preferred to lift up the colors separately, which gave me a much better controllable result. For the rest some specific and distinctive sectional color processing was necessary for different parts. In the turning cylinder (a typical barber sign), the blue and red surfaces needed to stand out as clearly in grey shade as they did in color. The lady, passing by in the right section, needed to be darkened a lot, to draw a lot less attention. Same procedure for the back of the mirror frame at the far left side. And then there is the section between the client and the lady. There were two kinds of crates, with slightly different color, and a clearly differently colored chair. Only sectional color processing could provide the nuances that I wanted here.
“Friendly swarm” (12:49h)
Another pop-up shop in this picture. Again specific processing, of course first o fall for the faces, then for the tattoo’s, and again for the clothing (mainly the guy’s shirt). At the left, the people in the shadow were originally as bright as the leading role players and drew much to much attention. So the exposure was locally adapted, partly with color processing, partly just exposure and finishing it off with a slight application of the burn tool (careful with that, because it will easily smudge the picture). The last section concerns the rack with the sunglasses. With specific color processing, I wanted to show an as rich play of tints in the glasses as possible. I find this kind of pictures very rewarding to work on, since one can make a substantial difference, without making it look too artificial.
So far for the pictures. Although it’s not always obvious, I guess, to notice at first sight what kind of processing was performed, I can’t emphasize enough how important the color processing has been for the final result. Remember that my goal was not to get “spectacular” effects. I carefully tried to avoid “overdoing” it, which IMO is always a great danger with any kind of processing. Instead I wanted the pictures to still have a natural feel. I wanted them to tell a story and I tried to use the processing to increase the expression of the story telling.
On the other hand, one can of course also experiment with customized color conversion, to purposefully obtain special effects – by enlarging the processing maneuvers or even endeavoring the extremes. That would result in a totally different style. Could be interesting as well… Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this one.
I’d like to finish with a big thanks to Steve, for publishing and maintaining this wonderful site and for creating this fine community. Thumbs up!