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Why Convert HDR Photos to Black and White

A lot of people wonder why on earth you would want to convert a high dynamic range (HDR) image to black and white. In general, you should convert an HDR photo to black and white for the same reasons you would convert any other photo.

Those reasons boil down to aesthetics (it looks cool and makes a statement in black and white) or solving color problems (color has problems, so maybe black and white looks better). The difference is how the HDR tone mapping process gives you more to work with from the outset. You’ll have more contrast, more tone, more of everything, leaving you with a more interesting and powerful black-and-white image.

Of the many ways to create black-and-white HDR, whatever method you choose and when you employ it depends on the applications you use and how much effort you want to put into it. Having said that, you can create pretty good results quickly and easily in most programs. So, all the fuss in this chapter comes down to degree.

In general, you’ll achieve the best results (and the greatest power to control the outcome) if you use Photoshop, Lightroom, or another application that allows you to individually tweak the black and white tones.

Analyze HDR photos you can find online to see whether those images work as black and white as well or better than as color HDR. Hopefully, you’ll see why you should even bother because converting photos to black and white is another step to incorporate into your workflow.

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