Please take beginners through the basic recommended process of retouching photographs of architecture.
It’s not that easy to describe the recommended process in just a few lines because the processing can become quite elaborate.
Here’s the rough outline:
My black-and-white post-processing method starts with the premise that essentially, every photograph only consists of shapes and light. Color is just a specific form of light, objects are just shapes and contrast is the difference between the darkest and the lightest part. So keeping in mind that every photograph is basically just shapes and light, you know that if you can control the shapes and light, you can fully control every photograph.
If you are wondering how you can control shapes and light in a photo, the answer is by isolating them. Next question: how do I isolate them? Shapes can be isolated by hard selections and light can be isolated by luminosity masks. I use of gradients and curves to join these elements together in a subtle manner. (Tonns of gradients and curves to be more specific.) I rarely use the brush, dodge or burn tool, since they’re not subtle or effective enough. I only use them to create selections. In a nutshell, that’s the technical essence of my black-and-white workflow.
The aesthetic essence of my workflow is that black-and-white photography is not about global contrast. Good black-and-white photography is only about selective contrast. That, and the very limited use of the darkest zones (zone 0) and the lightest zones (zone 10) in favour of emphasising the adjacent zones (zone 1 and 2 for the darkest tones or zone 8 and 9 for the lightest tones), and the aesthetic importance of mid-grey tones.
If you feel like you would like to learn more, feel free to get a copy of my book, From Basics to Fine Art, written together with Julia Anna Gospodarou, or if you prefer, watch my video tutorials on B&W processing. The videos have a less theoretical and more practical slant that focus on techniques.