Conversion query

I am planning to do more work in black & white and to use raw. I have a Canon EOS 7D and I process my images in Elements 11. There are no problems opening the appropriate screen, but I do have a problem with the initial conversion to black & white. As is always recommended, I shoot in colour, and when opening and converting JPEGs I find that Elements 11 has a good range of black & white adjustment tools, so (as also recommended) I don’t use the desaturation slider. When I open raw files, the raw sliders immediately appear, but the only black & white conversion option seems to be a desaturation slider. Is this the way to convert to black & white in raw before further processing, or is there some other way that the image can be converted to black & white? - Anthonio Burmano

Like the ‘full’ version of Photoshop, Elements uses Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) to process raw files. However, ACR in Elements is somewhat ‘pared down’ in comparison, and one of the omissions is the incredibly useful HSL/Grayscale tab. As you’ve found, this means the only way of converting a raw file from colour to black & white using ACR in Elements is to desaturate it. This is far from ideal as it gives you no control whatsoever over the conversion.

Instead, we would suggest that you process your raw files in colour (making all your exposure, sharpening, highlight/shadow adjustments and so on) and save them as TIFF files. You can then open the colour TIFFs in Elements and use the Convert to Black and White tool to perform your monochrome conversion. As with your JPEG images, this will give you more control over the look of your black & white shot, while retaining as high a quality images as possible.