I'm a huge fan of black and white photography. I adore the timelessness of them. I especially love really punchy black and whites with lots of yummy contrast. Hopefully you do too and that's one of the reasons that you like the look of my work.
A lot of people use a nice easy button to convert an image to black and white, literally a seconds work. This is one way for sure to get a black and white image and absolutely nothing wrong with it whatsoever.
It's all a matter of taste.
My style and taste is for really powerful and punchy black and white images.
Once I have retouched an image in colour, I then turn it black and white, but it doesn't stop there. I start working in photoshop on a technique known as dodging and burning. This is based on a traditional darkroom technique for regulating exposure on specific areas of a print.
I work on the highlights and shadows and the overall contrast of each individual image to bring out dimension and shape.
Let me show you 3 examples.
Here is an image of a beautiful family that has just been turned to black and white by the click of the 'black and white' conversion button. Really lovely but to me it lacks that punch! It's all a bit 'just grey'.
And here is the finished image in the way I like to produce my black and white images. Hopefully you'll agree the latter is a more powerful image.
Here's another of my photos, this time on a light backdrop.
Again, the latter is much more of a pleasing image to me than the version above.
And lastly, one of my favourite examples of where spending some extra time in post production really makes a difference to my finished black and white images.
Aaaahhhh that's better!! Beautiful baby stands out from a sea of grey. Same material that really benefits from a little extra work.
I've heard it being asked before "why are some photographers black and white duplicate images counted as extras"? and this is why. Its not just a seconds worth of work, or just a click of a button. It's a piece of art! I hope you agree!!