No two photos are the same, and no two monochrome conversions are the same. But I follow a similar path each time.
Like every starry-eyed Dad, I think daughter is the cutest thing in the world 🙂 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.
For the best mono conversion possible, it helps to have a nice color image. So I use Levels to improve the contrast.
I convert it using my action (here). It’s nice and clean, but still needs work, of course.
Using Levels, I first add some overall contrast …
… then some further adjustments in selected areas.
I use Curves to add a little more sparkle to her eyes.
Almost there! Time to add a vignette for emphasis.
Then some sharpening to finish it off.
Use the slider to compare original to final: