Black and White editing

I don’t do a lot of black and white photos, because I love bright beautiful colors. So last week’s challenge for black and white photos of the chicks was an interesting one.

Not being familiar with BW photography, I took all photos fully colored. I tried to get as high contrast as possible in the photos themselves (difficult with Dolores light brown color against a light brown floor as a backdrop). But I did what I could to get photos that would look good in black and white.

In the previous post, Chickens (4 of 52), I compared what Lightroom (and purchased) presets could do against using a software such as Silver Efex Pro 2. I know there are newer versions of the software, but that’s the version I purchased the Nik Collection (from DxO Labs) a few years ago.

I will have to say, I like the results and ease of use from Silver Efex Pro a lot more than Lightroom. That may be because it just isn’t a straightforward thing as it is in Silver Efex, after all, Lightroom has to do a lot more than just convert and make the black and whites look good.

In that spirit, at this point in time – with my knowledge in both Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2, I will say that working with Silver Efex is significantly better. The biggest downside is that you edit a tiff file that lightroom exports. It would be great if you could edit the DNG file (and add it as an edit step on the file), but I understand why DxO does not do this (even though DNG is an open standard/format). This shortcoming makes all my black and white editing a bit of a hassle due to if I want a photo to be black and white, I will have at least 2 files in lightroom for it: the DNG and a TIFF file. The TIFF files that I use (due to quality for printing) are generally 5 times bigger than the DNGs – a HUGE set back.

With this in mind, I will work on learning to use Lightroom for better black and white editing.

Update: I have checked online – because if it’s in the internet it must be true – and the DNG format is a published one, but not necessarily royalty free. It does use TIFF as the base, but it includes more metadata than is available in TIFF. I wonder why you would need to ‘export’ the photo in TIFF to edit it Silver Efex Pro 2, why can’t it just be a single transaction in Lightroom “all the updates” in SEP2.

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