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Silver Efex Processing Notes

Install the program as a “Plug In” to Photoshop (and/or Lightroom)


Will appear in “Filters” in the Photoshop drop-down menu


On opening the program, presets will all appear down the left hand side


You can add your own preset at any time if you arrive at a “recipe” you particularly like or want to apply across a series of images


Down the right hand side I start first with colour filters about half way down. These mimic the effect of coloured filters over the lens at the taking stage of black and white film images BUT they are infinitely controllable in terms of both strength and hue. This is the key way of altering the balance of tones within a black and white image. You can emphasise or tone down tonal contrast to suit.


I will then turn to global adjustments at the top of the right hand side (brightness, contrast and structure). There are a couple of small sliders that can be useful for protecting highlights and shadows.


The control points then allow localised adjustment and can be a very effective way of bringing out detail.


In the Film Types you can add a film grain effect if desired and fine tune the grain effect to suit.


In Finishing Adjustments you can then apply toning, vignetting and the burning in of edges. This latter can be controlled one edge at a time in terms of spread, gradation and strength making it easy to fine tune adjustments on an image by image basis in an entirely bespoke way.


Take care when toning to ensure that your image does not the fall foul of any definition of “black and white” or “monochrome” if you intend to use it in a competition or salon setting. As Audrey said in her presentation “always read the rules” of any competition or salon you may want to enter.


Finally you can add a border around your image and “randomise” the effect so that in a set or series your eye is not taken by all border irregularities appearing to be the same. There are sliders to fine tune the size of your border, the spread and the extent of arty irregularities (“clean to smooth”)


Hit “OK” to return your image with Silver Efex adjustments back into Photoshop.



Nigel Reader

January 2022

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