Sunday, September 8, 2013

How to create dramatic black and white Landscapes Tutorial

In this new tutorial I'll show you how to spice up ordinary landscape photos into dramatic black and white images. This is so easy, but yet very effective. I'll cover RAW and JPEG editing, so anyone can do it. I will be using Adobe Photoshop CS6 again, but the filters applied can be found in almost any image-editing software.

This is what we'll be creating:


As you can see, this dramatic looking black and white photo actually enhanced certain features in the color image. It was taken during my journey back from the mountains (click here).

You can click on all of the following screenshots to make them bigger

First two Steps are for RAW Editing in Photoshop's Camera Raw. If you are using a JPEG image then skip to Step 3.

Step 1: Open your RAW File in Camera Raw


Step 2: Edit your RAW file
In the screenshot below you can see my settings for the black and white transfer. Of course you'll need to bring the Saturation slider on the bottom completely down. I also played with the highlights and shadows, overall exposure and contrast. There is no precise way, you just have to move the sliders and see what fits your image. Tip: If you don't like it click cancel, and open the RAW file again, and start over.

Once you are done, click "Open Image" and move on to Step 6!
Step 3: Editing a JPEG image
Open up your image in Photoshop. File > Open.


Step 4: Apply Black and White Filter: Image > Adjustments > Black & White


Step 5: Adjust the settings
As far es the settings for a dramatic effect go, you'll always want to have the Cyans and Blues darker. So slide those somewhat to the black end of the spectrum. But as with the RAW method, you'll have to play around with the sliders to see what fits your image. Once you're done click OK and move on to Step 6.


Step 6: Enhance the Drama!
Landscapes that are shot in a wide angle tend to have planes in the background that are less visible. Now when you make them visible you can actually create some drama in the image, because the contrast will be bigger. Click on the Elliptical Marquee Tool  (or just press the letter M on your keyboard), and make sure the Feather is set to a higher number like 200 (you can adjust this in the top of the screen).


Step 7: Darken the background
With the part of your image selected, click on Image > Adjustments > Curves. In the settings darken the overall area by moving the central point down, then the bottom point even lower and the high point higher. Again, play around, until the background becomes visable and contrasted. Click OK once you're done.


Step 8:  Save your image by clicking File > Save As.

You are done! This is the final image that I have created:


I hope you liked this second tutorial. You can find all of the tutorials so far by clicking here. Please let me know how you like this, if it was easy to follow, and if you have any further questions.

34 comments:

  1. I really like what you did with this photo. B&W has its own dramatic beauty.

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    1. It really has. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. thanks, i will try this on one of my beach photos and let you know how it goes.

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    1. Your beach photos would lend themselves beautifully for this! Definitely let me know.

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  3. I'm struggling. My photoshop programme doesn't appear to do black and white! However, the camera will change a photo to black and white so perhaps I can play around with that ... it's one way to learn what Photoshop can do!

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    1. What version of Photoshop do you have? Maybe it's just in a different place then in CS6. Alternatively you could use the Saturation Filter and slide the saturation of the image down to get to a black and white image.

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    2. Adobe Photoshop 7.0 - it came with the new camera, on separate disc.
      Thank you, I found Saturation and have succeeded in removing the colour. There is also a separate desaturation button. Now I need to play around to get the effect I like best on various photographs.

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    3. That's great. Glad you found it.

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  4. Hi Mersad,

    cool...geniales Tutorial ! Danke sehr :)

    Grüße aus Berlin

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  5. Really like the transformation. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  6. I'm always interested in how others achieve their final images -- thanks so much for the detailed tutorial.

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    1. I also like to see the before/after process, that's why I'm sharing it I guess.

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  7. I enjoyed the color/b&w diptych in and of itself:) Thank you for the detailed tutorial!

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  8. Mersad, This is wonderful. I used to write tutorials for the FMTSO blog and post them on my blog and the Shoot Out blog. I was wondering if you would like to take that role over? You could post this on the FMTSO blog with a link back to yours. Let me know if you are interested and I will set you up as an author.

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    1. Thank you for the opportunity. I am interested of course, if you would have me.

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  9. I am new to photography so I really appreciate that you are taking the time to provide tutorials....This is very interesting and I am anxious to follow your steps and see what happens....

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    1. You're welcome. And thanks for following me. Saw your blog, and I'm following back. :)

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  10. I've been interested in photography since I was about six and, of course, started off in the black and white era. My dad was a very keen photographer and I learned a lot about light and texture from him. I rarely produce anything in B & W now but looking at that I am tempted to think about it again.

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    1. Black and White has it's benefits, and whenever I edit a set of images, there are always those that work better in B&W!

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  11. Great tutorial, easy to follow. You created a beautiful B&W image, the background really pops.
    (I use Topaz plug-ins, along with Photoshop. Wonderful for post processing.)

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    1. Topaz plug-ins are great. Great for contrast as well.

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  12. Beautiful transformation, and easy to do. Ansel Adams would have been so jealous of the tools we have available now to enhance our photography!

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    1. Thank you for visiting. Yes, photographers today have many tools at their disposal, but I still believe that the in camera work can save you lots of headache later on!

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  13. Thank you for sharing this! It's always interesting to see the methods others use with Photoshop. Often the desired effect can be arrived at in any number of ways due to the multitude of tools Photoshop has to offer. I never thought to try the Elliptical Marquee Tool with Feather at such a high number.

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    1. Thank you. I hope it inspires people at least to try new methods.

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  14. hi..Im college student, thanks for sharing :) inspire..!!!

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