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Create Better Black and White Photographs

Lesson 5 of 8

Black and White Portrait Retouching Workflow

Chris Orwig

Create Better Black and White Photographs

Chris Orwig

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Lesson Info

5. Black and White Portrait Retouching Workflow

Lesson Info

Black and White Portrait Retouching Workflow

What we need to do is some burning and dodging tons of ways to burn a dodge and let's go with this version of that we kind of have this version or we have this version they're both both cool to burn and dodge we can use curves or levels or just painting in so let's look at how that works so new layer and I'm gonna go ahead and call this layer just call it brighten that's really what we're doing if you aren't familiar with the burning dodge terms and if I grab my brush tool and if I have white and I'm gonna make a silly adjustment at first so you can see what's happening here painting with a brush was your hardness big huge brush you can access this dialogue here by control clicking on the image other ways changing brushes to but when I paint across this I have this big bright white patch on the image when we take our blending mode to soft light what that patch does it turns into something that you could kind of see I could use if I painted it incorrectly to brighten up parts of the ima...

ge we paint with black which I'll do here we're going to see that that's going dark and this would not be very nice to do to our friend patricia right? So we have the ability to bright nor dark and different areas of the photograph by painting with black or white on the layers blending mode is on soft light and one more short cut for you which which might be this we create a new layer we named this we know we're going to bring and dodge dodging and then we want to convert this to soft light the fast way we want to be uber fasten our photo shop work that is make sure you have the move to well selected or what not one of your brushes press shift option f and that shift all f on windows and that's a shortcut to get their soft lights the most commonly used blending mode for photographers so I think that's why I threw that one in there and there was a question yeah what's the difference there what your preferences on doing this on a blank layer as opposed to a fifty percent gray layer yeah if you do it on fifty percent gray them main advantages you could use the actual vernon dodge tool and it would either darken our brightened that later but if you use burner dodge tool on nothing, it doesn't happen right? So if you like using those tools that's a great way to do it so and if you are familiar with that what and I'll run with x I imagine some people aren't was I mean that shift command and to create a new layer should control and on windows this opens up the dialogue here and what we can dio well, actually, let me just do it kind of made the old fashioned no shortcuts keep simple new layer if we go to our color picker, and if we choose fifty percent grey, type it in and what am I tio with no color in it? Um, and we fill that with fifty percent gray lots of ways to fill it. Sorry, I'm jumping ahead of myself if you want to fill with something. Um, what we can do is choose fifty percent gray from our phil dialogue that might be even easier if you're thrown up by what I just did, I guess because I wasn't thinking through it, you could create a new layer and goto edit and phil and then she was fifty percent grade that's probably the easiest way if you aren't familiar with this technique to do that on this new layer, when you take the bloody mode to soft light, nothing happens because this layer has nothing on it. Soft light, the blending mode middle grade doesn't affect it and that's what? But it affects our deeper tones and a brighter times, so on this later we have choices, we can do something like I could paint with white here, and I still get in getting my brightly in effect, right? Whites too high of a passive but I could go in here and find my shadows and kind of get rid of those as I'm doing here progressively building up more brightness, you can see how that's starting to deal with those albeit those are great adjust yes, but you're getting the idea I'll do some better ones in a second or we could use our burn and dodge tool. So what the dodge to what we can do that is we can start to find those areas where it's too dark and you can see I'm just kind of getting rid of my shadows here piece by piece again my settings a little too high, but hopefully you're seeing that what's happening here I am changing the totality of that layer I could do that in the right way or the dark way, so that just gives you that flexibility on and it's a great way to burn a dodge as it I think you know using curves is with the mask is a good way to do it too, so lots of ways to do the same thing is there one way, which is the best way I always mistrust when people tell me that because I always find that there's many ways to do it and I've worked with enough people in photo shop to find some people love their ways and if you love away do it um what way do you like by the way I usually do the fifty percent greater but you use the burnin dodge toward use the paint breath I use the brush tool ok, ok great and she's an amazing recheck her so that's that's something to be said for that so with this one brush tool we're back to it we lower rapacity when we're working with light it's below fifty percent at least we're going to paint bright white in here blending mo goes to soft light, which we can go via the menu or if we want to be really advanced user we have toe exit the brush tool for a second because if I press my soft lights work, it'll change brush short my brush blending I want to change layer blending shift option f or shift all f if you hate shortcuts pretend I didn't say that and just click on this right here and then what we'll do is is they're going to go through and I'm gonna start to try to get rid of the shadows. This kind of work is something where you really I don't know I like to listen to cello music when I burned and dodge for some reason because I think telling me it just resonates with me but you want to kind of have this really light touch here a cz you're doing this so that you're kind of getting rid of shadows slowly you're not necessarily burning a hole in the image and all of a sudden there's this huge, horrible white spot and so again, I'm just going to go through and try to find the shot is where I want to diminish them a little bit using walking tab but really helpful and while we're here to tap the left frankie to make my brush smaller and they're going to try to bring a little bit of light into the eyes as well, so I'm going to go to the brighter side of the eye should be brighter on the opposite side of the light source, and this is again that kind of light that I like so much um, you can find it anywhere really flexible, so you get where I'm going with it right and that's fun way to do that also feel free, though, to use some of those other techniques last one to think about is with curves if we want to create a curve or were bright ning and bringing up shadows, we might set a couple points here where, you know, kind of removing contrast to so I'm bringing up my black point on that mask inverted with the brush tool now when I paint with white here go a little faster on this version, what I'm doing is I'm bringing in this adjustment here into these areas because it's already scaled back it looks like I need a higher opacity. Um it's another way to change the past in your brush rather than going up there number keys right five goes fifty fifty five is too five, you know so you can jump around and you can get to these different values here and what I'm doing is with these adjustments you can start to see I'm looking to bring in brightness to these areas the nice thing about working with the mask let me make the image look bad for second illustrate is if you have identifiable brush strokes as ideo kind of poor patricia and I'm glad she's a good friend if he's watching this on dh with this have the feather slider and the feathers cider I think of this kind of the poor poor man's welcome tablet because what you can do is you can bring it up and just soften those edges. So even with these really bad brush strokes, you're going to start to see once I get to a certain spot there going almost look okay? I mean from like, really, really bad to almost that's, almost like usable if I lowered my capacity right and yeah that's usable and I was just, you know, craziness with it with the value that we had there, so that being said the advantage of doing something other than like the technique we talked about before with maybe your breast stroke is this one. You have that built in feather slider and I find with light a little bit of softness on those edges, it goes a long way, especially in black and white. Any questions that we should get from you guys, or from anyone else? If not, I've plenty more to get into. But so question that from photo maker. Yeah, if we want to. Glamour glow effect on a color portrait. Is it a good idea to do black and white processing and then reduce the capacity to gently bring back color? Teo, you so let me see. So glamour blow. Yeah, um, and I will do something that my course later today. And how cool is that? Too much that's. Great member. Go. But yes, I think getting into I mean, without the interesting dialogue to have but without knowing exactly where that's going, what you can d'oh have no idea that's going to work on this image. So let's, just try it record. What you can do is just begin to think about how what we were doing with our sliders and black and white was we were, you know, trying toe brighton and and dark and different tones this is a really great way to work on skin tones in what you can do is take your blending model luminosity this won't look great right here but you could see is if I kind of had retouch this and you want to go with a really pale porcelain type of skin, which is sometimes you do or more of a glowing type thing color here looks really bad so it have to go in maybe killed some of my red's um on dh you have to forgive me because this isn't the right, you know, filed to do this on but you can kind of see how this thing is giving me a little bit of that glow. So yes, there are ways to do that, but I should just I shouldn't even have gone there, but because I'm going to go there later and we'll do a real process and that's that's in your in your other class yes, class yeah awesome are you going to be another question is are you going to be talking about plug ins? I'm not no I just plug ins atop a ton and um that color effects pros amazing that I think that I like to do with black and white especially my students when I'm in a classroom and I have a long time with them is to hold them off from plug ins and the reason is is it's sort of like I don't know baking a cake from scratch versus the box you know and not that that's bad like eventually you use as many tools as you can't, you know that's amazing, but my strategy here is to try to do that, but I've done courses where they're all plug ins and I love those but that's probably for another day so I think it's a really valuable, wonderful tool out there lots of wonderful tools out there and one more before we keep going this question gets asked a lot of this one is from scott, can you tell us again about the difference between using capacity versus using phil opacity versus let me think of that? So what's the context maybe why change the capacity rather than change the oh in photo shop? Yeah, sorry, I was like, all right, you know, that's a great question so let's do it this way. Um, this is a great way to kind of illustrate this uh, patricia here, um and what I'm gonna do with patricia is I'll throw on a brushstroke around and I'm going to try to throw in a brush stroke that's really noticeable, so I'm not trying to create art, but I'm trying to create that's something that illustrates these two, which is a really good question so what we have is with this layer we have the text and then we have something around the tech so if I remove the phil from this one what every moving is the are the pixels on the layer and the phil is like the stuff and then the capacity of our to remove that would be both right so it's both the breast stroke and the image so most often you're going to be working with capacity unless it's in those sort of special effect type of scenarios so I hope that answered it yeah cool cool cool cool let's tio let's do one more image ok? Rodney smith is an amazing photographer one of my kind of heroes and mentors and stuff and he does a lot of black and white work and so this image on a convert black my image and I wanted to have a lot of density and I want to start to think about the photo because remember saying why do black and white the color in this image you guys can't see that's let me zoom in the color in this image let's get out of there the color in this image I think is a little bit confusing um I could correct his skin tones to look a little bit better but I think the eye doesn't really know where to look and so I want to simplify and deep in and so that's my goal so before I get teo anything, I'm going to crop this, and I'm gonna freeform crop it, which means I'm not constraining my proportions, and the reason I'm doing that is because I just want to kind of go for it rather than have it certain aspect ratio is a key is the shortcut to lock and unlock the aspect ratio think a for aspect ratio. So kraft, that couple ways to apply the crop, you khun doubleclick inside of the middle of that area, you compress return on a mac, enter on windows or you can also just hit done there. So once I've cropped it out, then also want to think about really what I want, probably the door to disappear, the background of change so I might even crop it some more with black and white you I kind of have to see through to what the brightness values will be, then to get myself started after some of those basic things, I hit the wiki, and that gives me at least a good start basic panel, um, we know that we need some more brightness and what tends to happens, I think with a lot of our sliders is that we try to figure out how to use them in unison and they created these I think in this order for a reason that we jumped through these make adjustments in one area and then kind of jump to another so I think the images looking ok at least on my monitor highlights is going to reduce a little bit of my contrast which is good build a touch of that back okay problem is his eyes are dark and got to get rid of this stuff so I had the cake or the adjustment brush as a side note the funniest thing I think about the adjustment brush is you know how you can open up your panels here sorry mike this isn't working it's the only tool that grows you know so like gets super long I don't know why I think that's so funny is like well huge adjustment brash and then there it is but anyhow so I have my adjustment brush and maybe even do some exposure and some shadow work and on a zoom in further to get into the eyes, eyes and portrait's air really really important to me because I am mostly natural light what happens to guys is you get shadows so with the adjustment brush a touch of exposure, a lot of shadows, more shadows and exposure because that's when I want fixed and so with that we're going to go down to our values your size feather and flow and flow in light room is how quickly the adjustment takes place density is intensity, so it density does it's kind of a governor on everything, so if you had a really high exposure and I'm just gonna take my float for a second, and I made an adjustment here that turned that white, if I brought my floating into a low value, I could still get to that brightest white if I just went back and forth of times, yeah, that's happening, I matched that, but once I bring density down, I'm never going to get that high doesn't matter how far I go back it's only going to get his high as sixteen on my dense the slider so that's sort of the it's like a governor it's it's it, you know, some people like using that, I don't I keep it all the way up and just work with flo, I find that makes a little more sense to me. All right? So with this a lot of times, we're going to make multiple adjustments here, and so I'm just going to start to try to get out my shadows. Um, I think this kind of detail work isn't always the most exciting to see someone do, but because really, you know it's like, well, how do you? How does someone good at burning and dodging their patient? And they work around the image, so if they're working on shadows on the eyes, they also have to work on the shadow under the nose, the shadows body, the eyebrows and, you know, you're kind of working around all of those things just exaggerate for a moment, bring that up, you kind of see what I'm trying to do there, bring out some of that light and often what will happen is with the adjustment brush will want to do multiple adjustments, here's a great way to do that, hit the cake he wants and then cakey again that closes and opens its really fastest way because I'll make a ton of adjustments with this tool rather than going up here and going new, and then, you know, doing something else, okay to close kato open is essentially knew, but it's just a real quick there I am so this one I want to build on top of that, and the reason why you might want to build on top of that is I'm not sure with this one if I'm going to go too far with that and overlays are kind of too much for me, and so I'm hitting the h g right to get rid of those, all right? So working on our shadows and kind of improving those one more little tip here, we can or two more tips we can look at our before and after I know that subtle but black and whites all about subtlety question yeah yeah you were just talking about using the cakey yeah I don't use light room I use uh adobe camera right? Right well that work in that as well because it really frustrates me that I can't yeah everything is always adding never knew yeah I don't want to go to camera because it wasn't working but but it's a great question what you can do there is andi I'm blanking on the shortcut for the adjustment russian adobe camera all right now but zaeef resume key and then go back to it whatever it is the same one remember it may be someone the chat room well um I forgot it but so that's kind of the way to work around that light room it's just one keyboard shortcut in camera what I tend to do is to I'll just hit zooming then I'll go back to whatever that key is I forgot I'm sure none of you forget your shortcuts that's funny sometimes have to watch my own tutorial videos you know? It was just really funny because I'm like I don't know how he did that so I watch it and like, wow ok but I don't feel bad because I have a friend who's, a really famous musician and he will re listen to his songs because if he hasn't played him for, like, three or four years, he's forgotten it and I'm not a musician, but I, you know, we all forget things that may be the point of that is it's okay? If you forget, you know, it's that's, why we review and that's why we have all this stuff. All right, so moving on to rodney over here. Do you guys like where we're going with this guy so far? A little bit better. Kind of remember how so open he was sort of lost in the doorway now we're like intense and there he is. He's, this really deep thinker I think he has six fireplaces in his home he's only photographer I know who lives like that. His study has hundreds of books, and very few of them are photography books. Fascinating guy look him up anyway. All right, so I go to the adjustment rush again and this time I need to just drop that stuff out of there in the background. So I dropping my my exposure way down and my shadows and I'm gonna bring my flow up. So I am kind of doing the opposite what I did before before I was working delicately, now I'm going to work fast I want to turn on auto mask and so I hit the key down here and I want to get on his shirt, right? So I'm gonna go there, get my auto mass going as I get near those edges, what I'm looking to do is to really have the simple, strong poetic image sometimes what can happen is when you make these adjustments like with the eyes, they're too strong you get to this point, you realize I wish I could, you know, scale something back this one, I think it's ok, but let's look at scaling here I go back to the adjustment brush h key brings back my points I click on one of these points where I made an adjustment and has multiple sliders. You sometimes we'll have exposure and watch shadows and clarity in contrast or what you know, whatever it is so let's just say we have a ton of of adjustments in that area and meet maybe this one you do that with this one too, so I'm adding all this stuff anyway. Point being is if you want to reduce something all at once, the best way to do that is to collapse the dialogue and that gives you your amount slider what this does is it takes every slider relative to where it was and it gets it closer to zero so if you had negative clarity and positive exposure and you decrease your amount, both of those get closer to zero that makes sense, so if we do this with our mountain, just drop it down and go back here to see how they're all near that area and when I go back to my amount, crank those guys way up and you can see how those air extreme in that way this is phenomenal, especially cause this is sort of like and photo shop a layer opacity you know? You like do it too far how do I take all that I've done and do it background and going each slider and bob are a great way to do it the image doesn't look good, but hopefully the demo was good. All right, well, I hope you've learned at least one more thing, so I'm gonna do my little question thing if you're home, I want you to write something down or something maybe you need to look into maybe it's a photographer like I need to looking to this guy or maybe I need to this tip I didn't even know about the amount slider I didn't know about the double k or I didn't know about whatever it is, you know, something that I've covered leave it to you and not not not record your little learning point, so here twenty five seconds in here, take that time. Talked to a neighbor neighbor. What you learnt. Go for it. And why would they do that? Chris, can I ask you a question, though? Yeah, you learn anything. Did I learn anything? You're on this, um absolutely there. Some photographers on your list that I'm very familiar with. Okay, and some that I'm not ok. Course, michael kenna. Very familiar. Well, because of my name's. Kenna. Yes, of course. But I didn't want to let everybody know that the k works in camera raw. Okay, as well. Did you learn something, chris? Just I learned that I really somebody in the chat rooms. Chris teaches science. And he said that this technique of stopping and having people, you know, ask each other what they learned was really, really great and useful. And and the type of things he teaches yeah. Yeah, and then the great thing about it is that it's useful for teachers? Because you can clear your get your thoughts, but then also the classroom, because I find in these classrooms, like I try to find the little points afterwards, but they're gone. And so it's trying to, you know, grab you.

Class Description

Most people know how to use Photoshop features to create black and white images, but many of these conversions aren't very good. Join instructor Chris Orwig for Create Better Black and White Photographs and make black and white images that are expressive and strong.

You’ll learn how to use Lightroom and Photoshop together in a seamless way to give photographs rich and deep tonal range. Chris will show you how to change the brightness values of specific tones and help you selectively add brightness and darkness to direct the viewer's eye through the image. By working with a wide range of subjects, you’ll explore how to use presets and settings to help you achieve film and analog looks in your digital black and whites.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2, Adobe Lightroom 5.4

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Chris Orwig - Create Better BW Photos - Reference Guide.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I LOVED this and loved Chris as a teacher! I get frustrated when the teachers jump around and don't explain things thoroughly. But Chris is great! Lots of new helpful ways to do things. Very informative and very helpful. I have purchased countless Creative Live classes and he is a new favorite! Thank you Chris!!

Rebecca George

one of my very favorite teachers -- love this class and found it SO helpful. Chris is so great about repeating the important stuff in a way that makes it stick. This class gave me the tools to be able to edit more quickly and efficiently. Totally worth the money.