While taking and editing this photo, I was inspired by some of the really stunning black and white photos which can be seen at times on the cover of Times and National Geographic. Something like this picture below.black-white-man
I love all of the contrast you can see in this man’s face from the wrinkles, the detail in his skin and how it isn’t trying to be glamorous. I wanted to try recreating it.

Below is the image cycling through three phases. First, is my original image — no edits done; next is the photo right before making it black and white and third is the final image.

The differences which can be seen at the different point in the image above came through a wide slew of edits I applied. First I adjusted the levels of the image to make the colors more vibrant and fix the lighting. When I do this edit I like to find the lightest part of the picture and set it as the baseline for white and then find the darkest part of the image and set it as baseline for black. By doing this it allows for the full range of shades and tints hidden in the photo to come through. In this image my white point was the shine of her earrings and the black was her mascara.

I also adjusted the color of her face by reducing the redness in it by creating a selection around her face and adjusting the color balance of that selection. I brought out her eyes be creating a white layer over her irises with an overlay blending mode. In this initial edits I also removed the hairband from her wrist which distracted from the image.

With my initial edits complete I then set it to black and white. Once black and white I increased the contrast to bring out more detail in her face, edited away some wrinkles and make final adjustments to my levels.

Once finished it gave me the final portrait seen below:


Helaman Higley
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Helaman Higley

Graphic Designer. Illustrator. Photographer. Creator.

Helaman is a student of Visual Design at BYU-Idaho.
Lover of design and astronomy, he aspires to be a creative director. He loves using his skills to create unique and compelling graphics for any need.
Helaman Higley
Find me at

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