“While I love Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, there are areas where they just don’t perform as well as the Topaz plug-ins do. When my goal is to end up with a beautiful, creative result that doesn’t look too contrived or when I need to do some serious noise removal on an image, I typically turn to Topaz. I love that I don’t have to install and use each piece of software outside of Photoshop. Topaz is a real time saver for a photographer, like myself, who edits a lot of images.”

-Rachael Towne

The ‘after’ photo was created in the newest version of B&W Effects 2.1; see how Rachael edited the image in the following tutorial.

Step 1

  • Open the original image in Photoshop and then open it in B&W Effects 2.1.
  • Go to the Albumen Collection and choose the Chocolate Preset.

Step 2

  • On the right side of the screen under Finishing Touches change the Overall Transparency to 0.50 as seen in the screenshot:

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 9.22.40 AMStep 3

  • Under Conversion Adjustments, change Boost Blacks to 0.20 and lower the Contrast to 0.30 as shown here:

Conversion Adjustments-1

Step 4

  • Click the Sepia button in Tone Quicktools

Tone Quicktools-1

Step 5

  • Check the Vignette box under Finishing Touches and change the vignette settings as shown in the screenshot

Vignette Settings-1Step 6

  • Click the Apply button.
  • The Apply button makes it possible to apply the changes and then use another preset on top of what you have already done. Previously, you would have to exit the program and then come back to use multiple presets on the same image.

Step 7

  • Click the “Z” button on the upper right side of the window. This will open up the Zone System Mode.
  • The Zone System was originally developed by Ansel Adams to cope with the limitations of exposure meters. Zones 0-3 are shadows, mid-tones are 4-7 and highlights are 8-10.
  • This tool is a visual aide only and it doesn’t make any adjustments to the image.

Zone system-1

  • After viewing this particular image in Zone Mode, I’ve decided to turn up Protect Shadows under Adaptive Exposure, which will recover some of the shadow detail.
  • Click Apply

Here is my image in Zone Mode now:

Reduced Black-1Step 8

  • Go to Border under the Finishing Touches menu. I chose Burnt Black 3 in the drop-down menu and then changed the border size to my liking.
  • Then, go to Transparency, which is also under the Finishing Touches menu. I made the border just a bit transparent so that the image underneath would show through a bit.

Here is a screenshot of these settings:

Border and Transparency-1

  • Once you are satisfied with the border click OK, which will apply the changes, close the plugin and open the image back up in Photoshop.


About the Photographer:


Rachael Towne is a professional stock photographer, digital artist and freelance writer in Napa, California. Rachael is editor of Photoluminary and a staff writer on Light Stalking.