A lot of people don’t have a clear understanding of how black and white images are done with modern digital cameras. It’s not like with film where you choose to use either b&w or color film. Even if your digital camera has a black and white setting, all it’s doing is taking a color picture inside the camera and then converting it to black and white. With the nicer cameras you take your pictures in a raw color format and then adjust and do what you want with an image later on in software. There is really no such thing as taking a black and white image anymore, so any picture you see that I have in black and white, there is always a color original to choose from.
Now if you just let the camera do the black and white conversion, or if you just use basic software that removes the color, you can end up with a pretty flat and boring image. Doing a good black and white is a lot more than just removing the color. I think a big difference between a good and bad photographer is the investment you make in really good equipment and software.
I’ve always used actions in Photoshop that would allow for soft and glowing, sharp and high contrast, and other types of b&w image conversions. Recently I just starting using new software called Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2. This really takes the black and white conversions to a whole new level. I’m just getting started using this software, but I’m already getting results I love. As I work with it I’m sure I will get better, keep an eye out here and on my Facebook page for more variety in black and white styles. I will post a few of these black and white images below, I hope you enjoy them.