I love black and white photos. I first started experimenting with B&W pictures during photography class in high school. Sometimes I miss those afternoons in the dark room.
With Photoshop you can easily convert color shots to black and white, but the result can be dull. The color sensitivity in black and white film and the use of filter – often yellow, red and orange – is important. But why make this effort when plug-ins with no trouble can fix it for you.
The plug-ins below all create more or less great black and white pictures quickly:
Alien Skin Exposure Works with CS2 or above, Elements 4 or above. Platform Mac OS X 10.4 or above, Windows XP or later. Brilliant. Wish I could say it was cheap.
IR Film Works with Photoshop 6 or later, and Elements. Platform Mac OS X, Windows. Test before you buy. The demo allows you to convert up to 20 pictures.
nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 Works with all Photoshop-plug-in compatible programs. Platform Mac OS 10.4 and above, Windows 2000. Extensive. Free 15-day trial.
Black/White Studio Works with all Photoshop-plug-in compatible programs Platform Mac OS X, Windows. Impressing, plenty of combinations and alternatives.
ConvertToBW Pro 3 Works with all Photoshop-plug-in compatible programs. Platform Mac OS X, Windows. Fast and easy to work with. theimagingfactory have stopped developing their plugins. If interested, download as soon as possible.
Tiffen Dfx Works with Photoshop 7 or above, Elements 3 or above, Photoshop plug-in compatible software. Platform Mac OS X 10.4 and above, Windows XP Pro, XP Home or Vista.
Fantastic program with many different black and white options, terrific effects also for color photography. Free 15-day trial.
Cybia BW-Plus Works with Photoshop, Elements, PSP. Platform Mac OS 8 or higher, OS X, Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista. Easy to use. Black and white contrast filter produce the same effects as if you would use Photoshop’s Channel Mixer. Free.
Virtual Photographer Works with all Photoshop-plug-in compatible programs. Platform Windows 98 or above. Although it’s focused around color photography, there’s a black and white option. Super fast and nice effects.
B/W Conversion Works with Photoshop-plug-in compatible programs. Platform Windows XP and others. Free. It’s easy to make things worse, rather than improving shots. Not the best option.
Do you have any experience from any of these plugins? Which one is your favorite?