One of my favourite techniques in Photoshop is using a black and white blend layer to quickly intensify the photo. This technique gives more emphasis on the shadows and pops out the colours. And it is very easy to do in just three steps.
I am a huge fan of the “Clair Obscur” photography technique. In this technique, only the subjects that are important receive light, and the other parts are very dark or totally black. This photography technique is best performed in a studio, but sometimes I want the same effect for other photos as well, that are originally not photographed using this technique. In this case, there is a simple technique in Photoshop to blacken out the dark parts of your photo and make the colours intense. And you only need a black-and-white layer with a “Multiply” blend mode. This technique combines very well with the Matte Photoshop technique.
STEP 1. Go to “Adjustments” and click on “Black and White” to create a new black and white layer on top of you photo. If this tab is not visible for you, you can add it by going to “Window >> Adjustments”.
STEP 2. Select the new Black and White layer and change the blend mode to “Multiply“
STEP 3. Select the new Black and White layer and adjust the colour sliders. With these sliders, you can choose which colours will appear darker and which colours will pop out. Just experiment with it to see what works best for your photo. You can also decrease the opacity of the black and white layer a bit, to make the effect less strong.
And that is it. A very simple technique that will transform your photos. Below you can see a before and after picture of the photo, I used for this tutorial.
* Note: as you can see in the before/after picture below, this “Intensify Technique” also darkens some of the fine details of the photo. To preserve these details I combine it with a “detail separation technique” which I will explain in this tutorial: COMING SOON.