My favorite computer software program for preparing black and white images is Silver Efex Pro by Nik Software. This program is primarily used for converting color digital images to black and white images, however I used it for preparing my black and white negatives to digital black and white images. For the record, I have used Photoshop for color conversion to black and white, but I find Silver Efex Pro far easier to use. The other great feature of Silver Efex Pro it is compatible with Photoshop.
So let’s look at some of the other features I really like on Silver Efex Pro. First, is the ease of use of the control point feature. To me this is simply the dodging and burning of a precise portion of the image. Making dodging and burning far easier and with greater control and results than the traditional darkroom ways. With that there is the global tone curve adjustment feature, which controls the brightness and contrast of the image. Both of these features allow great control and results in preparing an image for final printing.
Now there are several other great features with Silver Efex Pro, such as a zone system map, toning, film and grain structure to help enhance your image. In fact, one could write an entire book on the features of Silver Efex Pro. So to really understand the total capabilities of Silver Efex Pro, I suggest three ideas for you to decide if Silver Efex Pro is for you: 1). Download Silver Efex Pro from Nik Software for a free trial with no strings attached (this is exactly what I did); 2). Nik also provides free webinars on Silver Efex Pro; and 3). An e-book “The Photographer’s Guide to Silver Efex Pro” by Jason P. Odell. I found all three tools to be useful.
The image “Evening at Point Reyes Lighthouse”, I have shown as an example, was captured on Ilford Delta Pro ISO 100 film; the film was then developed and scanned on a Epson V500 scanner; the scanned image was then prepared by Silver Efex Pro and uploaded to the internet as a digital image.
Evening at Point Reyes Lighthouse
Black and white photographs are still a powerful way to present an image in the digital world!