From Lightroom to Photoshop: Creating Black & White Images PT1

Working in and out of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop have their benefits. For me it's imperative that I use both. Lightroom is a great tool for setting your image up before editing. It's more like completing your general education at a community college before  getting into your major courses. In this blog/tutorial I will be going over a few steps I take to create a great image.

So, first things, first. I start with the most important part of this. Head over to the "Lightroom" bar in the upper left corner. Scroll down to "Preference," and click "External Editing." The reason we're changing the setting here is because when it's time to export your image into photoshop you'll want it at the best quality possible. When editing, your file format you should always have it set to "PSD," which stands for "Photoshop Document." The next part is changing your "Color Space." I use Adobe RGB (1998), mainly because It was designed to encompass (Hold) most of the colors achievable on CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, & Black) color printers.  

Lightroom Screenshot #1

Lightroom Screenshot #1

Lightroom Screenshot #2

The next thing we're changing is the "Bit Depth."  Bit depth is the color information stored in an image. Long story short, The higher the bit depth of an image, the more colors it can store. 

8 bit has about 256 Tones Per Channel Per Pixel with about 16 million possible tones.

16 bit has about 65,532 Tones Per Channel Per Pixel with about 281 trillion possible tones.

Last, but not least the resolution. Resolution is one of the most important concepts to understand in photography. Camera resolution is measured in megapixels, both image file resolution and monitor resolution are measured in pixels per inch (ppi)  and printer resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi).

Understanding this will help when it comes to resizing images and printing. For example, I own the Canon Eos 5D which has a 12.1 MP (Meaning 12 million Pixels) resolution image. The dimensions of the images from my camera are 4,256 x 2,832 pixels. If you wanted to create a high quality print with lots of detail at 300 PPI, the print size would be limited to approximately 14.2″ x 9.4.″ How you say? Well you start by dividing your camera pixel dimensions; 4,256 ppi/ 300ppi = 14.2" and 2,832 ppi / 300 pi = 9.4."

Lightroom Screenshot #3

Lightroom Screenshot #4

Lightroom Screenshot #4

The next thing I do is convert my image to Black and White by pressing "K" on the keyboard. I make little adjustments like changing my exposure, highlights, etc. You should always try to avoid using Tonal Curve, B&W color manipulating, and Split toning. these settings are useless considering we are only going to be working with the intensity (or lightness) values, rather than full RGB color values.

The final step of this tutorial is to bring our image into Photoshop. The fastest way to do this is by "right-clicking" the image, hover down to "edit-in" and click "open as Smart Object in Photoshop."

Lightroom Screenshot #5

Lightroom Screenshot #5

Lightroom Screenshot #6

Lightroom Screenshot #6

I like to work in "Grayscale." Grayscale is different then working with a B&W layer in RGB.  if you decided to use the B&W layer adjustment your photo will still contain pixels which vary from black through many shades of gray to white. using a black and white adjustment layer is a non-destructive way to edit; it still retains all color information. what we're going to do is throw away all the color from the image leaving only lightness values. *Once a photo is converted in this way, it's original colors cannot be recovered. The advantage of using Grayscale color mode is that it produces a significantly smaller file size. This is particularly useful when you want to upload high quality black and white photos to the internet, but be careful while editing your images that they don't appear flat.