People often ask me, how I did my black and white editing, actually that was not an easy answer for me, one thing that maybe most newbie doesn’t know is that, not every picture will look great when we convert it into black and white, there are a picture that work wonder in colors but will be lifeless if we convert it into black and white. One thing that we must keep in mind is that, whatever we do, I mean in term of photography and in this case portraiture, just keep it simple, background play a very important role here in order to make your subject stand out from the crowd.
I took this picture in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, she is not alone, in fact she is performing traditional Sarawak dance welcoming delegates from Commonwealth country for an Education conference. She perform her dance close to a large glass window that enable a bright natural light to shine through and I don’t need to use flash for this picture, the light is strong enough to lit the dancer. About the background, since I can’t move the dancer, so I need to position myself in order to get a nice background, actually the background is not totally black like what you saw here but very dimly lit, I take my exposure on her face, so the background will be underexpose for a few stops and with few blending mode in photoshop I manage to get a complete black background.
This is not photojournalism shot but a portraiture, I rarely edit my photojournalism shot, I mean my “Official Shot” but this is a fun shot so I can play around with it and I don’t want a clutter background to spoil her portrait, my editing here is quite simple actually, I just play with blending option until I get complete black background and finish. One thing that I think help to make this shot look great in a black and white is because her dress, very beautiful dress with texture and pattern. That is one of the secret for a successful black and white picture. Look for great source of lighting, a subject with texture and pattern and then explore it. Those things really can help our black and white picture look pleasant to the eyes.
One thing about her face, it is a combination of Red Channel and Green Channel, I combine them both, play with opacity a bit to get the result that I want. Very simple actually, I never use plug in, preset or action for my editing, all done from scratch, but most importantly is that photoshop for me is a tool to enhance a good picture, it is not a tool to repair or fix a bad picture. Get your picture right in the camera first, in term of composition, lighting, moment and everything else, get a nice shot and your editing will become easier and faster.
Tags: Art, Beautiful, Black, Black and White, Charm, Charming, Costume, Custom, Dancer, Eyes, Girl, Grace, Hitam Putih, Lady, Monotone, People, Performance, Photography, Portrait, Portraiture, Simplicity, Stunning, Traditional, Travel, Wazari, Wazari Wazir, Women