Useful Photography Tip #129: High Contrast Black and Whites Are All About the Midtones

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The art of creating high contrast black and white images has to start with what first comes out of the camera. To do that, you first need to create an image with very bright whites and with darks as dark as you can possibly get them. You’re most likely to skew one way or the other. But the biggest edits come in the post-production stage. This is where you need to work with the entire dynamic range are of the image since the colors are more or less moot due to the color scheme being removed.

So at this point you’ll need to work with four critical areas in Adobe Lightroom:

– The Blacks

– The Whites

– The Tonal Curve

– Clarity

Blacks adjust the most extreme end of the dark area while the whites do the opposite. Then you’re going to need to work with the entire space in between–which are the midtones. You can manipulate these mostly using the clarity slider for quicker adjustments but more fine tuned adjustments should be done through the tonal curves.

At that point, you’ll be playing with the settings to get a look that you want. These are the basic tools that you’ll need to get iHigh Contrast Black and White images, so go ahead and give it a shot.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer High Contrast Black and White with clarity (1 of 1)ISO 2003.0 sec at f - 6.4

Boosted Clarity

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer High Contrast Black and White standard clarity setting (1 of 1)ISO 2003.0 sec at f - 6.4

Standard Clarity

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer High Contrast Black and White enhanced clarity and adjusted tonal curve (1 of 1)ISO 2003.0 sec at f - 6.4

Boosted Clarity and Adjusted Tonal Curves. See much more silkier the blacks look now?