One thing I have learned is how to add contrast to my photos to make them “pop” off the screen. This is done in Photoshop, but I think most free programs have the ability to add contrast to a photo, as well. I know Picassa does on their “tuning” screen. It is easier to add contrast when turning into black and white picture, due to the changes adding contrast does to the colors in a photo.
SOOC (no edits):
Processed in Photoshop – just a simple conversion with no contrast added. I just ran the defog (Filter->sharpen-> unsharpen mask -> 20/60/0, and added a Gradient Map adjustment layer.
Processed in Photoshop – added contrast through adding the Levels and Brightness/Contrast adjustment layers. In the Levels layer, I needed to move the triangle on the left towards the center. I also played with the other two to make sure it didn’t get too dark. On the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, I decreased the brightness and increased the contrast. It was plenty bright, so adding contrast made Anya too bright and I needed to offset that and decrease the highlights. To make it black and white, I added a Gradient Map layer. Then I added a Hue/Saturation layer to tint the black and white created by the Gradient Map layer and used the burn tool around the edges.
Just play with the different contrast settings and you will see what works. Sometimes adding too much contrast to a color picture will really turn the colors wonky. You will then need to adjust the color if that happens.