A professional photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop can
easily cost you hundreds of dollars. So I went on a search for a
comparable alternative and surprisingly found one, for FREE!
GIMP- (GNU image manipulation program) can be downloaded here. It works on several operating
systems including PC and MAC. All you need is a little extra space
on your computer and images to play with!
I was personally shocked at all the features GIMP has and how
similar it is to Adobe Photoshop. Here are some basic instructions
to turn a color photo to a true black and white photo.
Once GIMP is installed on your computer, locate the photograph
you would like to manipulate by clicking FILE>OPEN.
After your image has opened, go back to the toolbar on top and
click COLORS>COMPONENTS>CHANNEL MIXER. Make sure monochrome
and preserve luminosity are both checked. You will notice your
image is now in grayscale in the preview box.
If your image appears a little flat like mine, you will need to
experiment by adjusting the red, green and blue sliders. These
sliders control the amount of that color being mixed with the rest.
This gives you the ability to create a more dynamic black and
If you are still not completely satisfied with the amount of
contrast in your photograph, head back to the toolbar and click
Under input levels you will see three triangular sliders which
represent your shadows>midtones>highlights. Start by
adjusting the midtones. Moving the slider to the right will darken
the midtones, while moving it to the left will lighten them. Make
sure the preview box is checked so you can watch your progress.
In the event that you would like to go for the look of an older
photograph (sepia) head back to your toolbar and click
Start by adjusting the hue
slider. I started by adjusting my hue to (37) which
gave the photo a very orange tone.
Next, adjust the saturation slider
of that hue. I used (14) and was very happy with the
resulting image. If you'd like to give your photograph a film-like
effect, you can simply add some grain by clicking
FILTERS>NOISE>RBG NOISE. Be careful with
this feature as you can easily add too much grain. This step will
enhance both black and white and sepia toned images.