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.
Learn how to use a free software program to create stunning family photos.
Once GIMP is installed on your computer, locate the photographyou would like to manipulate by clicking FILE>OPEN.
After your image has opened, go back to the toolbar on top andclick COLORS>COMPONENTS>CHANNEL MIXER. Make sure monochromeand preserve luminosity are both checked. You will notice yourimage is now in grayscale in the preview box.
If your image appears a little flat like mine, you will need toexperiment by adjusting the red, green and blue sliders. Thesesliders control the amount of that color being mixed with the rest.This gives you the ability to create a more dynamic black andwhite photograph.
If you are still not completely satisfied with the amount ofcontrast in your photograph, head back to the toolbar and clickCOLORS>LEVELS.
Under input levels you will see three triangular sliders whichrepresent your shadows>midtones>highlights. Start byadjusting the midtones. Moving the slider to the right will darkenthe midtones, while moving it to the left will lighten them. Makesure 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 olderphotograph (sepia) head back to your toolbar and clickCOLORS>COLORIZE.
Start by adjusting the hueslider. I started by adjusting my hue to (37) whichgave the photo a very orange tone.
Next, adjust the saturation sliderof that hue. I used (14) and was very happy with theresulting image. If you’d like to give your photograph a film-likeeffect, you can simply add some grain by clickingFILTERS>NOISE>RBG NOISE. Be careful withthis feature as you can easily add too much grain. This step willenhance both black and white and sepia toned images.