Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Black And White Layer Blend

Those that read this blog regularly know that I don't post very often about Photoshop techniques, as there are many superb blogs dedicated to that alone.  However, I did recently learn of a technique that can provide a subtle but interesting effect, particularly, in my opinion,  for 'vintage style' images.  It could, of course, provide some interesting looks for other image types as well. The effect tends to bring in greater contrast or 'punch' while also giving the colors a bit more of a 'vintage' look.  But it does it in a reasonably subtle way.  For example, in the following two images compare the look of the bricks, the doors, and the sidewalk/concrete at the bottom of the wall.  I think they have a more interesting appearance in the second image.  If you like it as well, read on and I will tell you how this was achieved with the addition of one simple layer in Photoshop.



Copyright Howard Grill



Copyright Howard Grill

This relatively subtle effect is easy to achieve.  Simply add a black and white adjustment layer to convert the image to black and white.  Obviously, you will now see a black and white version of the photo.  Change the blend mode to Soft Light.  Now you have your color image back with the effect applied.  You can go back to the black and white adjustment layer and make further refinements to the conversion while still seeing the final color result on screen and watch as the effect changes.  The layer opcaity can also be tweaked to taste.

Give it a try....