I am not a black and white photographer since I love color so much, but some images look so dramatic in black and white that I am compelled to work in that arena.
A case in point in the picture of a Balinese dancer I photographed in Indonesia about ten years ago. I always loved the shot, and in preparing for a webinar for Nik Software, I experimented with this image in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Color images always lose contrast when converted to black and white – this happened in film and now it happens in the digital realm, too – but using the many presets in Silver Efex takes care of that problem.
After I saw this photo as a black and white image, I realized that the dancer needed to be highlighted to be separated from the complex background. Using one of the control points, I lightened just the dancer and that directs our attention to her. To further dramatize the effect, I then added a dark vignette around the periphery of the photograph.
Finally, I selected one of the many monochromatic tones in Silver Effects to add the blue color. As much as I like the color original, I think this version has a lot of visual impact.
Notes from the Editor: Jim Zuckerman is a top stock photographer and published author who teaches many excellent courses at BetterPhoto's digital photography school online, including Creative Techniques in Photoshop , Advanced Creative Techniques in Photoshop and Photoshop: Thinking Outside the Box.
Book Alert: A new book is coming out this October - by Jim Miotke and Kerry Drager! Check it out: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography (subtitled: "Learn to Master Composition, Color, and Design").