Update: Better B&W Photo Conversions

I wrote recently (here) about a simple, quick, very effective way to convert color photos to B&W in Adobe Photoshop.

This morning I laid out the weekly newsletter of the Ananda Community of Mountain View. I wanted to use the following color photo:

Community volunteer workday at Ananda Mountain View. Kidding around before opening prayer.

Alas, the newsletter is printed in black and white and the printed photo looked crappy. The faces in shade were black and the people were merged with the visually busy background.

A preliminary note. I had processed the color photo with Photoshop, using the paid Perfectly Clear plugin which enhanced the sense of depth.

I first tried converting the photo to B&W using the usual lazy method in Photoshop: Image > Mode > Grayscale. But it still printed horribly.

Then I remembered the article referenced above on converting color photos to B&W in Photoshop.

I first chose Image > Calculations. Here are the settings I used:

Finally, I converted the photo to a duotone in Photoshop:

Image > Mode > Grayscale (converting to grayscale at this point will not degrade the photo)

Image > Mode > Duotone > Type: Quadtone. And for Preset (click to open the drop-down menu) I chose Bl 541 513 5773.

Here are the Duotone settings I used:

Here’s the final image; it printed WAY better on my bog-standard B&W laser printer (Brother HL-L5100DN). I raised the shadows slightly in Photoshop with Filter > Camera Raw Filter:

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