Shoot RAW + JPEG. The unsurpassed monochrome conversions are hit by editing raw files which have the full colour information, but if you shoot raw and JPEG files simultaneously and set the camera to its monochrome photograph Style/Picture Control/Film Simulation mode you get an indication of how the image will look in black and white. As many photographers struggle to visualise a scene in black and white, these monochrome modes are an invaluable tool that will help with composition and scene assessment. many cameras are also capable of producing decent in-camera monochrome images these days and it’s worth experimenting with image parameters (usually contrast, sharpness, filter effects and toning) to find a look that you like. Because compact fashion cameras and compact cameras show the scene seen by the sensor with camera settings applied, users of these cameras are able to preview the monochrome image in the electronic viewfinder or on rear screen before taking the shot. DSLR users may also do this if they activate his camera’s live conceptualization use , but the usually slower responses mean that most will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.
Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are purely as useful in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more useful . An ND grad is collaborative when you require to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter should be used to decrease reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, estimate taking two or more shots with unique exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite. Don’t be afraid to use a ND grad with a standard neural density filter if the sky is brighter than the foreground in a long exposure shot. Coloured filters, which are an essential tool for monochrome film photographers, could also be useful for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of their opposite colour while lightening objects of her own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green one will lighten foliage.
Look for Contrast, Shape and Texture. The complimentary and opposing colours that bring a colour image to life are all reduced to black and white or shades of grey in a monochrome image and you have to look for tonal contrast to make a shot stand out. In colour photography, for example, your eye would immediately be drawn to a red object on a green background, but in monochrome photography these two areas are likely to have the same brightness, so the image looks flat and featureless straight from the camera. luckily , it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours discretely to introduce some contrast. However, a good starting point is to look for scenes with tonal contrast. There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some strong blacks and whites. This may be achieved by the light or by the brightness (or tone) of the objects in the scene as well as the exposure settings that you use. The brightness of the bark of a silver birch tree for example, should inject some contrast (and interest) in to a woodland scene. Setting the exposure for these brighter areas also makes the shadows darker, so the highlights stand out even more. Look for shapes, patterns and textures in a scene and move around to find the greatest composition.
Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots should work really well in monochrome photography, especially where there’s moving water or clouds. During the exposure the highlights of the water, for example, are recorded across a wider area than they would with a short exposure and this can help enhance tonal contrast. The blurring of the movement also adds textural contrast with any solid objects in the frame. If required , use a neutral density filter such as Lee Filters’ Big Stopper or Little Stopper to decrease exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). characteristically , when exposures extend farther than relating to 1/60 sec a tripod is required to keep the camera still and avoid blurring. It’s also advisable to use a remote release and mirror lock-up to minimise vibration and produce super-sharp images.
Take Control. Although coloured filters may still be used to manipulate contrast when shooting digital black and white images, it’s more prominent to save this work until the processing stage. Until a some years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the preferred means of turning colour images monochrome, but now Adobe Camera Raw has more powerful tools (in the HSL/Grayscale tab) that allow you to adjust the brightness of eight individual colours that make up the image. It’s possible to adjust one of these colours to make it anything from white to black with the sliding control. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the whole image when adjusting a particular colour as crafty gradations should become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or pinkish shirt with the red sliding control, for instance , will have an impact on the model’s skin, especially the lips. The Levels and Curves controls could also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create differentiation between objects of the same brightness but with diverse colours.
Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a procedure that comes from the traditional darkroom and is usually used to burn in or darken highlights and hold back (brighten) shadows. Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools allow a level of control that film photographers could only aspiration of because you should target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you could use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to brighten them to increase local contrast. It’s a great procedure of giving a sense of better sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you may set the opacity of the tools, you may build up their effect gradually so the impact is subtle and there are no hard edges.
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I personally love the challenge of focusing on the different elements of composition that make a great monochrome image.
I tend to find that when editing colour photos I try to represent the scene as accurately as I can. I don’t go overboard on the saturation, contrast, or clarity.
If you shoot a JPEG in black and white straight out of the camera you won’t be recording as many different spectrums of light as you would shooting in RAW.
Learning to shoot in black and white will help you expand your skills in using light and contrast to aid in composition.
You won’t be able to capture the beautiful golden light during the golden hour but that forces you to focus more on the contrast between dark and light, the direction of light and the amount of light on a subject.
Shooting travel photography in black and white is a creative challenge every photographer should try their hand at
Black and white travel photos are probably your go-to style if you’re into the documentary side of travel photography
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Well, graining isn’t such a big deal when shooting black and white images since it’s reminiscent of old film photography which was quite grainy itself in normal conditions. It just seems to work.
But when you are editing in black and white, you can really bump up things like the contrast to levels that would look unnatural and, in my opinion, awful on a colour photo.
Maybe it’s because travel photography in black and white was the original form of travel photography. Way before everyone had a smartphone in their pockets and a low-cost airfare just a few clicks away.
By being able to manipulate these spectrums, even when a photo is in black and white, it will give you the ability to really play around with tones and shades a lot more and ultimately give you more freedom while you’re editing.
In the early days, each black and white photo brought back from trips abroad was an educational experience and a rare glimpse into the lives of others.
Using naturally occurring textures as elements of your composition in black and white travel photography is one way to get your creative juices flowing.
If you don’t photograph in black and white much then you should give it a go.
From an artistic perspective, black and white photos are more forgiving in the editing suite.
I give World of Travel Photography permission to send me occasional emails (no spam, ever).
It allows you to be more creative and alter the scene much more.
You have to be in a totally different mindset, which helps you to see scenes in a different way. Instead of relying on colour to get the viewer’s imagination going.
The shadows forming a pattern on this woman’s face are a great example of what contrast can add to a black and white photo – Credit: Valentina Aleksandrovna What drew me to this photo is the way the photographer used a heavy shadow from surrounding buildings to frame the man walking past – Credit: Nicholas Green
There’s no need to worry about cranking the ISO up when shooting in black and white.
Shooting photography in black and white can really teach you a lot about light.
In these cases, colour would distract the viewer from the patterns and textures and they wouldn’t have such an impact as they do.
This image has had the contrast turned up very high and even some heavy dodge and burning added that would look unnatural and over the top if it was in colour – Credit: Thomas Millot
If you are up for the challenge, tag us in your best black and white travel photos on Instagram using the hashtag #WTPFeature and we will share the best!
Especially if you learn a few simple tricks to step things up a gear…
In RAW you capture a lot of colour information including greens, blues and reds.
By shooting in RAW mode and then converting the image to black and white in post processing you get much more flexibility when it comes to editing.
Lightroom allows you to manipulate the different colour channels even after converting to black and white.
When composing a photo you can put this technique of using textures and patterns into effect to create bold images that have an abstract feel to them.
Black and white travel photos help convey a different message to that of colour photos.
Without colour, other elements such as patterns, textures and shapes become more obvious and important.
Like I said before, black and white photography takes people back to the way things used to be in the days of film.
One where we were genuinely learning about new cultures and the people who lived in these far away countries.
Whatever the reason is, shooting travel photography in black and white is a great technique for capturing documentary style snapshots of daily life.