Create Stunning Black and White Photos with Silver Efex Pro
Have you ever bought a scrapbooking kit you just adored only to realize that none of your photos really match the colors? Or maybe you have a photo that would go wonderfully with the theme of a kit, but the colors are totally wrong. Or maybe you’re like me and you just adore the timeless look of black and white photos. Whatever the reason, today I am going to show you how to take a color photo and take it from color to a stunning black and white using the free plugin Silver Efex Pro.
Choosing your photo
Choosing a photo with a lot of contrast as this will make the strongest black and white image. Look for a photo with lots of light areas right next to very dark areas. I chose the photo of Sam on the chalkboard, knowing that she would pop against the black of the chalkboard.
Start with a preset
You can download Silver Efex Pro for free here: https://www.google.com/nikcollection/products/silver-efex-pro/. Once you’ve downloaded it you can right-click on your image in Lightroom and choose “Edit in Silver Efex Pro 2.” A dialog box will pop up and ask you whether you want to edit a copy or the original. I recommend editing a copy so that you can go back to the original if you so wish.
The Silver Efex Pro workspace will open and look something like this:
You’ll notice a bunch of preset previews along the left and some sliders to the right. It starts with a natural filter which looks pretty drab on our photo.I went with Full Dynamic (Smooth) as I didn’t want too much clarity on her face.
Use the adjustment sliders to add some pop
Some of the sliders that you can adjust in Silver Efex Pro that are really useful are the Structure sliders which work similarly to Lightroom’s clarity slider, but can be applied to the Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows individually. In this case, I increased the structure shadow just on the shadows to bring out some of the texture of the chalkboard without bringing too much detail into her face.
If you want to compare what you’ve done with the original conversion, you can click on Compare to toggle back and forth. When you’re happy with your adjustments you can click Save at the bottom right and you will be brought back into Lightroom where you can continue editing as needed.
Here was my final image:
Now you have a beautiful black and white photo you can use in your scrapbooking. I combined my photo with today’s free mini-kits from Amanda Yi and Alexis Designs and some buttons from Etc. by Danyale and Meagan’s Creations to create this layout. Make sure you keep checking back to get all the wonderful goodies in this month’s Magic of Beginnings mega-kit!
The Magic of Beginnings Giveaway
On to the next installment of the Scrapaneers December Giveaway – The Magic of Beginnings.
A big THANK YOU to all the amazing designers who contributed to this Mega Collection. The Magic of Beginnings is perfect for your holiday and December sequential projects, but it is about so much more than that. Think about plans and goals for the new year, starting a new stage of life, new relationships or simply the start of exciting new adventures. This collection is so big we could not fit it all into one preview, so here is glimpse at the collection in two parts (we couldn’t fit everything in the preview so know there’s MORE!):
Magic of Beginnings download links are no longer available.
Don’t forget to check back on Wednesday, December 7 for the next set of downloads, and a fun template tutorial from Jana.