JP’s Brilliant B&W!
John Paul spelled out the digital darkroom B&W options brilliantly here, wish I’d thought of doing it! Many including myself look for the best way to convert our images to B&W and as JP points out, there is no one way since B&W is such a romantic medium. We need to mix in the digital darkroom as per the heart! With that said, he’s compiled a comprehensive list and IMHO is spot on. And like JP, my preferred method for B&W conversion for some time now has been as he states:
The only thing I add to this is at times is Nik’s Pro Contrast at the start of the process and then at the end of the process Levels. The key to the methodology described above is its Quality and Flexibility and Speed. And this is important when a clean Black and a clean White is essential along with the mixing of the heart in the final B&W image
What you see above are some of the possibilities by just cycling through the drop down menu in the B&W Adjustment Layer. In order you see above I have applied: Original, Blue, My Finished B&W version, Green, Infrared, Max Black, Neutral Density, Red and Yellow. Below is a screen grab of the Layers for the B&W version below, the one I like the best for this image (rarely is any two images have the same mix). How do YOU learn what works best for YOUR B&W? Go through the list JP was so wise to generate, using all those methods on at least three different images. Save ALL those files and then print them all out. That is what I did, I have a good feeling that’s what JP did and it’s what you should do. Oh, what about those B&W plugins? You might have noticed they aren’t advancing but digital is. To me, that’s a huge hint to master what we’ve got and what we know is advancing, Photoshop! Have fun and enjoy the very romantic realm of B&W!