Black & White Editing Workflow: Step 1 (Dfine)

I am super excited to kick off a series of blog posts that will document my black and white editing workflow. These posts will not go deep into detail but will cover the steps that get me from Lightroom to the point where the creative edits begin.

I import all images into Lightroom and from there I only do a couple of adjustments if needed before further processing. These adjustments include crop and exposure. Yes, I do crop before the edit and usually choose between a 1:1 or 4:5 ratio. Once I am done in Lightroom, I launch into Photoshop to start the editing process.

Step 1: Noise Reduction

From Photoshop, I open NIK Collection’s Dfine to apply noise reduction. Regardless of what ISO I used in camera, I apply this step. I want to make sure that there is little or no noise in the darker tonal ranges for my black and whites. I am also not concerned to lose sharpness at this point because in the steps ahead I will bring back tonal contrast and sharpness to the image.

I always use the automatic profile that Dfine applies once it analyzes the image however you can make adjustments and further control the amount of noise reduction if desired. I find that it does a good enough job and I don’t spend anymore time than needed at this step. Additionally, it creates a new layer in Photoshop after you exit so you can even mask out areas if you would choose to.

There are other options to apply noise reduction both in Lightroom or Photoshop without the need of plugins however, I feel the NIK Collection is a great addition to your editing arsenal and Dfine doesn’t disappoint.

Please comment below if you have any questions regarding this step and I would also like to hear what noise reduction software is your go-to.

Stay tuned for Step 2.

Click here to check out Dfine.

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Portrait photographer based out of Hamilton, Ohio. When not photographing people to help tell their story, I spend my time bringing my imagination to life and doing things I have never done before.

Imagine. Capture. Create.