Using Silver Efex Pro 2 To Hype Your Contrast

Have you ever been interested in pumping up the contrast in your work beyond the standard tone-curve adjustments that all of the books teach? After hanging with my friend Douglas Sonders at Photoshop World in Vegas and mentioning my technique to him, I decided to put together this video tutorial on how I do it. For me, I enjoy walking a line between real and not real. I tend to use HDR, for example, on certain parts of background images but never the whole image. With this effect it's the same idea. In the past I would use a plug in called Lucis Art to get a similar effect. It's a very popular plug in and has a very distinctive look. One of those 'you know it when you see it' looks. Unfortunately, the company that makes it has stopped further development on the Mac platform. This is a shame, really, because Lucis Art was creating a look that no one else could do. Enter Silver Efex Pro 2 by Nik Software.

I picked up Silver Efex Pro 2 on a whim. It was totally an impulse purchase during a conference last year (I think it was Photoshop World Orlando). Silver Efex Pro is designed to do one thing well - make black and white images. It excels at it, to say the the least. After using the plug in for 2 minutes, I completely ditched my older methods for creating black and white conversions. It really is that good. However, while messing around with it I came across a way to use it to give my color images a Lucis feel. Check out the video below to see how I used it for the cover shoot of the first issue of Austin Man Magazine:

So there you have it - pretty straightforward. If you liked this tip, you my want to subscribe to the feed as I'll be posting more soon. Also, be sure to add me on Google Plus if you are there, as I'm planning on doing a hangout to show this in action.