No two photos are the same, and no two monochrome conversions are the same. But I follow a similar path each time.

Step 1:

Like every starry-eyed Dad, I think daughter is the cutest thing in the world ­čÖé This shot is nice in color, but a bit bland and flat … I’d like to make a nice black-and-white out of it.

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Step 2:

For the best mono conversion possible, it helps to have a nice color image. So I use Levels to improve the contrast.

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Step 3:

I convert it using my action (here). It’s nice and clean, but still needs work, of course.

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Step 4:

Using Levels, I first add some overall contrast …

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Step 5:

… then some further adjustments in selected areas.

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Step 6:

I use Curves to add a little more sparkle to her eyes.

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Step 7:

Almost there! Time to add a vignette for emphasis.

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Step 8:

Then some sharpening to finish it off.

Use the slider to compare original to final: