What are the best tone/contrast settings for converting RAW to Black and White, for portraits

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by OldNoob, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. OldNoob

    OldNoob TalkEmount Veteran

    Oct 30, 2014
    So in what are everyones opinion on the best tone/contrast settings for converting RAW to Black and White, for portraits?
  2. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Dec 9, 2013
    Bellingham, WA (displaced Canadian)
    Real Name:
    Hmmm...I'm not sure. For me it sort of changes from picture to picture.
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  3. chrid

    chrid Super Noob

    May 5, 2014
    Real Name:
    For black and white I usually process in colour fist then convert it, but im no expert
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  4. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Real Name:
    I agree with Mike. I confess that I'm always confused by these "best settings" questions because I haven't ever found any settings that work well for more than a short burst of photos taken at the same time. When the light changes, or the location, or the subject, then what's best changes as well, at least for my taste. :hmmm:
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  5. shotupdave

    shotupdave TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 22, 2014
    Torrance, CA
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    thats like answering whats the best beer
  6. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Feb 4, 2013
    It seems to me, that you either want to go for a flattering look, or something more dramatic/interesting.

    Low contrast tends to be more flattering, high contrast can be dramatic but brings out shadows in wrinkles and under eyes.

    One thing I do think can be good either way, is it to bring up the orange/yellow colours and darken the others, to get an effect similar to an old school Orange filter. For a person with light skin anyway.
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  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    There are no "best settings", neither in-camera nor in post processing. Processing photos and developing RAWs is an art just as the photography itself - or a craft, depending on what you aspire to be and in which industry you are.

    Whatever it might be, every single setting is different for any single photo you take, or at least it should be for optimal results. Every single hour spent editing a single photo feels different. If there would be "best" settings, everyone could just stick using that preset, but there's simply no such thing.

    But to get a richer tonality, it usually is preferable to first tune the colors before converting an image to black and white, and then tuning the tones again to get to a perfect result. The simple reason is that you have more data to work with before converting an image - except if you shot them with a monochromatic sensor, of course.
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