I am madly in love with Silver Efex Pro by Nik Software. This black and white conversion plug-in for Photoshop and Elements is absolutely fantastic and very, very user-friendly and has made me a big fan of black and white photography. A BIG fan.
When I began with digital photography I was not really all that interested in converting my color images to black and white or shooting in B&W but lately I have been become a little, just a little on the obsessed side with black and white photography. I can now see and understand how the monotone or a duo tone can bring out the dynamic in an image and change the intensity of the subject matter making it seem more real than its original color image.
One of my favorites that I recently converted is a portrait of an American Indian in his native costume. His head-piece and facial beading are very colorful and exciting but when I converted to B&W the mans face just jumped out of the screen and the detail in his headdress and beads was more pronounced than in the color photo. See the comparisons below:
One of the things I like most to do with my images when I convert them to black and white is to abstract them by adding a strong blur or a fade out or a good does of grainy contrast to age the image or further convert to infrared which just takes it to another dimension. This allows me to let my artistic side go wild and “create” an image instead of just “taking” an image. Just like film photographers did in a darkroom. It’s great fun. Below are a few more examples for your viewing pleasure and give the Silver Efex Pro a whirl and you’ll become a B&W convert like me. As always feel free to browse my galleries both color and B&W www.photobycate.com. Stay in focus.