How to recreate the soft greys of black and white film

paul_7

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I used to use Ilford FP4, printing in my own darkroom, and I loved the soft greys and gentle gradations I got in faces - especially of children. I've tried to recreate this in Lightroom and failed. Any suggestions?
 
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paul_7

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Mar 14, 2020
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That looks brilliant - thanks! I'd tried searching but not found anything as good. Yes, I shoot in raw and process (and convert) in Lightroom, so this should do it. If I get time I'll try it this weekend. Thanks
 

paul_7

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Hmmm. I've tried that one - I have to say that it doesn't really get what I want. It may have some aspects of FP4 but not those soft greys. And you're right there's loads out there. But has anyone else found the right one for this issue?
 
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What I would suggest is to use the B&W panel slider and especially the little targetted adjustment tool (top left). With a face like you describe, I'd be dragging the tool upwards on the face, which would be lightening how reds and oranges (etc) are rendered in grayscale. The beauty of this tool is that it lets you keep you eye on the image, not flicking back to the panel, and as you drag the cursor you see how areas of colour are converted and how the grayscale composition changes.

I wouldn't be looking at presets until I was confident with this - and making my own presets. Remember that the same film stock can produce very different tones depending on whether you used a coloured lens filter, and grain will vary wildly depending on your choice of developer, dilution and agitation.
 

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