View of the Drew | Andrew Halpern Photography

DUMBO view

Enjoying the day by the water in DUMBO... Brooklyn.

DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), Brooklyn -- 1/80s . f/5.6 . ISO 100 . 18 mm

Some photos work in black and white, some don’t.  My friend James, has a philosophy that if the color isn’t contributing anything, he just removes it.

Personally, (and this is just my opinion) , that’s too extreme for me. My default is to keep my photos in color and only go to black and white on two occasions.  (1) if my shot really works in b&w or (2) if the color is very distracting and doesn’t work in the shot.

In Lightroom, you can get to black and white quickly by pressing the letter “V.”  This will give the photo a default b&w mix. You’ll then need to tweak how each color responds to grayscale treatment.  For shots with lots of sky, it helps to force the cyan and blue to be dark grey or even black because this will make the clouds pop out of the sky.

Other settings to play with are the white balance, fill light, blacks, and exposure. When I get something nice, I often add this as a preset so I can apply the same b&w mix to similar shots.  For information on how to have even greater control over your black and whites in Photoshop, please see this article by James Maher.

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