After Before Friday – week 20

I’ve gone all black and white this week. I thought I would seize the opportunity to get a few shots of the scaffolding adorning our house with its rusty, dull metal and wonderfully aged texture. I like the colour of the rust, but I wanted the image to focus more on the contrasts of the light and dark and the textures and I hope this comes through better in black and white.

As I knew I wanted a monochrome image, the first thing I did was convert to black and white. I do this in the develop module in Lightroom. Next I cropped the image to get rid of the distracting bits of metal at the top and make the bolt in focus the point of interest with the silhouetted bolt kind of mirroring this.

I wanted lots of dark and light to create a bleaker, more industrial image, so I increased contrast and clarity to try to achieve this effect. It was not quite enough, so I boosted the whites and highlights and brought down the shadows and blacks. To finally get where I wanted I chose the medium contrast on the point curve to further boost contrast.

Although there is a bit of sharpening on import, I increased it a bit further and the luminance with it to avoid too much grain. I then added a slight vignette and finally using the spot removal heal tool, I cleaned up a distracting blemish on the top left of the picture.

I have done all the editing in Lightroom, but I would be interested to hear your views on converting to B&W in a separate program then finishing in LR.

To see more AfterBefore images, please visit Stacy’s ABFriday forum.

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12 thoughts on “After Before Friday – week 20

  1. Nice B&W Katie, and good try with the cropping; though, I’m not very sure it was the best option (at least the way you did). I mean, by doing so, you made much more noticeable that empty space, in the bottom right part of the image, which adds nothing to a good composition.

    1. Hi Jaime, I can see what you’re saying about the empty space, but that was the effect I had wanted to achieve. It was to be a stark, almost abstract image and in my mind, I needed the light corner to balance the opposite darker corner. Thanks for your honest comment. 🙂

  2. Katie, I had a had time deciding whether I liked the B&W or the color version better 🙂 You certainly achieved the result you wanted of focusing on the contrasts in the B&W, but the rusted tones in the color image seem to show the textures more and provide more depth. Just a personal preference in the end as to what one likes, so a great contribution to ABFriday!

    1. Thanks Stacy, I know what you mean, the warm colours were why I took the photo in the first place. I just wanted to create a different feel to the image, I liked the sharp contrasts it produced. Maybe it reflected my feelings towards the scaffolding, which I was truly fed up with climbing round to get anywhere, thankfully now gone! 🙂

  3. Great processing and you have really got the industrial feel in the image.
    When processing to black and white I have two sets of film presets in Lightroom, I also use Silver Efex and alien skin exposure. Not to mention using Photoshop.
    How i decide is usually on the outcome I want, usually I go to Photoshop when I know I will be going a lot more in depth editing, Exposure and Silver Efex is used on images already converted from raw ie HDR images. I use my Lightroom presets generally when I don’t need to leave Lightroom. The only negative of using plugins in Lightroom is you lose the ability to go back and tweak settings of the plugin which is especially annoying if you have made Lightroom adjustments afterwards.

    1. Thanks Ben for your in-depth comment, it is very interesting to hear how these plug-ins are incorporated into your workflow. I think I may look into something like Silver Efex in the future, but would have to get my head round Photoshop first. I really like what you achieved with your ABFriday this week, working with the different RGB channels in Photoshop. Thanks for your advice, maybe looking at LR presets is the first step.

  4. I liked Jaime’s critique and your response to him. Just shows how much of our work is subjective. I had no problem with the negative space he mentions and actually prefer the post cropping you did- though I can not decide on whether I prefer the b & w or color.

    1. Yes, Emilio, you are quite right. It goes to show that we all see things differently and when we ask for opinions, we have to be able to accept them! I think that when different eyes look at your images, they see things differently and this feedback can help you look at your own creations more critically.

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