Plus, because you can set the opacity of the tools, you can build up their effect gradually so the impact is subtle and there are no hard edges.
In this article, we look at photographing in black and white, and how it differs from digital. Also, what you should be focusing on to get the best out of your images.
DSLR users can also do this if they activate their camera’s live view system, but the usually slower responses mean that many will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.
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 dull straight from the camera.
A full frame DSLR is a top choice as it provides the best performance when accounting for cost, usability, and control over quality. So when they are all combined, this gives you the best route for stunning, dynamic images.
Black and White Photography Tip #1: Shoot in RAW. Many times when I shoot for black and white, the photo just doesn’t turn out right when I finally review it on the computer. By shooting in RAW, you’ll be able to change your mind later if the photo wasn’t as great in black and white as you’d hoped.
In this article, you can get an idea of what you should be looking at when it comes to editing your work and how to achieve dramatic results.
Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are just as useful in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more useful.
Photographic Gear Recommended Filters to Use with Black and White Photography
Lightroom is one of the best tools out there to help you get the best from your photography. It is easy and fast to pick-up and can help with your workflow.
Dodging and burning is a technique that comes from the traditional darkroom and is usually used to burn in or darken highlights and hold back (brighten) shadows.
All digital editing software for Mac, PC, smartphone or Android offers a conversion from colour to black and white. Unless you took a colour photograph, converted it into black and white in a non-destructive manner, you can not revert it. The information is no longer there.
6 Black and White Photography Tips for Monochrome Enthusiasts
This post is in response to a question from Matthew Tapley, who is interested in learning how to improve his black and white photography skills. I hope this article has information that is valuable enough to you that you’d consider sharing it on Facebook or Twitter.
It’s a great way of giving a sense of greater sharpness and enhancing texture.
Some specific street photography cameras have fixed-lenses, such as the Ricoh GRII 28 mm view, and they cant be changed. If your camera has the ability to change its lens, what would your focus be and how much of the street would you like to see?
Many enthusiasts and professionals still use film in their photography. They show us that film has definitive qualities still unmatched by the world of digital photography.
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 best composition.
Presets are a great way to get very impressive images. They are also fast and easy to use and are created by photographic enthusiasts or Adobe itself.
However, it’s important to keep an eye on the whole image when adjusting a particular colour as subtle gradations can become unnatural looking.
Textures and contrast are stronger in black and white. Black and white can bring out emotions more strongly than colour by removing distractions from a portrait. But colour can make you focus on a particular feeling, like warm or cold.
Tags: blackandwhite, blackandwhitephotography, monochromatic, monochrome, Tips
Black and White Photography Tip #2: Give your photo some Silver Effex. Silver Effex Pro 2 is a Photoshop or Lightroom plugin that does one thing–make black and white photos look incredible. In theory, you could replicate everything that Silver Effex Pro 2 does using Photoshop, but I have to confess that I have never been able to do it. Black and whites look absolutely stunning in Silver Effex Pro 2. The program is a bit pricey, but it is worth the money if you love black and white. In fact, when I look at black and white produced by other photographers, I like to think I can tell if Silver Effex Pro 2 was used on the image. Check it out here.
Long exposure shots can work really well in monochrome photography, especially where there’s moving water or clouds.
These advanced tips are to help you look past all the basic ideas which cover most aspects of photography. The camera gear, equipment and accessories are things that help you take better photographs. These tips are there to help you gain deeper knowledge, looking at a possible message, experience or emotion you want to portray.
It’s possible to adjust one of these colours to make it anything from white to black with the sliding control.
And adjusting the brightness of a red or pink shirt with the red sliding control, for instance, will have an impact on the model’s skin, especially the lips.
This article helps where and when to use things such as micro-contrast. Also how to effectively use and place the blackest areas of the photograph in relation to the mid-tone grey areas. Your photographs will benefit immensely.
The Levels and Curves controls can also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create separation between objects of the same brightness but with different colours.
This article can help you choose between black and white, and colour, based on what you want to achieve.
Luminosity masks are a feature in Photoshop that helps you isolate areas of a high light intensity in the photograph’s pixels. With these selections, you can select areas of the photograph and only work on specific tones, not the whole image. These are great to help boost the focus and look of a specific object in your frame. This article gives you a great rundown, from creating the masks to the finished image.
Black and White Photography Tip #6: Find a wide range of grays. Having white and black in the image will help add interest to a picture, but if other areas do not have a wide range of varying tones of gray, the photo will most likely look dull. You can achieve a a wider range of grays by using flash to throw highlights and shadows over certain areas of the photo.
Working with black and white images is not the same as working with colour – both have different focuses and need different areas of attention. The Black and White photographs can benefit from colours. Adding yellow into the image using a colour mixer can affect the detail in the sky. This brings out characteristics in an otherwise overexposed segment of the image.
They work by darkening objects of their opposite colour while lightening objects of their own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green one will lighten foliage.
Street photography is a very versatile topic, where photographs are taken on smartphones, all types of digital and film cameras. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Black and White Photography Tip #12: B&W isn’t a replacement for bad lighting, but it can soften the blow. The photo of the deer on this page is an example of a photo that looked terrible in color, but which looks nice in black and white. I shot the photo at high-noon. Because I used a polarizer, I was able to cut out the reflections on the leaves and mask the fact that it was shot in terrible light.
Black and White Photography Tip #3: To visualize in black and white, only pay attention to lines, shadows, and shapes. This trick is very helpful to aid photographers in pre-visualizing a black and white image even though we live in a color world.
Still-life might be a good place to start for many who would like to start focusing on their black and white photography. This starts at home or in a quiet environment and can give you time and space to practice before jumping into a more chaotic scenario.
Whatever the reason, this article helps to show you the benefits of shooting black and white, and how you can use this style to get better results.
The tonal range in black and white photography is one of the most important things to focus on. The range is basically the degree of how bright or how dark parts of your image are. The bigger the tonal range, meaning the more dark and light areas there are, the more impressive the image.
Thanks to digital technology, monochrome photography is easier today than ever before. Check out these six black and white photography tips for getting great results.
Photographing landscapes requires a different set of skills than other areas of photography.
You don’t always need a darkroom, with running water, an enlarger and red-light to make your own black and white images.
Black and White Photography Tip #4: Pay special attention to noise. With the outstanding low light performance of modern DSLR cameras, in addition to the noise removal programs at our disposal, photographers are used to getting away with noise.
An ND grad is helpful when you want to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter can be used to reduce reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, consider taking two or more shots with different exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite.
The most popular way to use your DSLR for black and white photography is to use it for colour and then convert the images later, during post-processing. There are ways to change in-camera settings to allow yourself to photograph straight to black and white. This allows you to focus on important things, such as light and contrast and not get distracted by colour.
Black and White or Colour Photographic GearRecommended Filters to Use with Black and White PhotographyCamera Settings for Black and White PhotographyDigital Photography vs. Film PhotographyHow to Choose the Right Type of FilmHow to Shoot with Black and White FilmHow to Create Black and White Images at HomeAlternative Black and White ProcessesTypes of Black and White PhotographyLandscape PhotographyHow to Choose Your Perfect Camera for Landscape PhotographyThe Best Lenses for Landscape PhotographyPortraitureHow to Choose the Right CameraBest Lenses for PortraitureStreet PhotographyHow to Choose the Right CameraBest Lenses for Street PhotographyArchitecture/Fine ArtStill LifeMobile PhotographyHow to Shoot Black and WhiteAdvanced Tips Post-Processing Black and White PhotographyConverting the Correct WayHow to Edit Images on MobileHow to Manage Images in Post-ProductionThings to Consider When Editing Black and White PhotographsHow to Use Tonal Contrast with PhotographyHow to Use Luminosity MasksHow to Transition From Taking to Making the PhotographHow to Edit Black And White Images in LightroomProcessing Images in Photoshop
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography’s Photographer-In-Chief: Thank you for reading… CLICK HERE if you want to capture breathtaking images, without the frustration of a complicated camera. It’s my training video that will walk you how to use your camera’s functions in just 10 minutes – for free! I also offer video courses and ebooks covering the following subjects: Beginner – Intermediate Photography eBook Beginner – Intermediate Photography Video Course Landscape Photography eBook Landscape Photography Video Course Photography Blogging (Service) You could be just a few days away from finally understanding how to use your camera to take great photos! Thanks again for reading our articles!
Black and White Photography Tip #9: Use the correct terminology: Black and white, monochrome, grayscale. “Monochrome” means that a color is placed on a neutral background. Therefore, black and white images, which put black on a white background, are a type of monochrome image. Grayscale is merely a way to show black and white images on a computer, which uses a reduced set of shades of gray.
Photographic filters are there to help you make the most of your landscape, architectural, or long exposure photography.
Now your mind has to switch to look at highlights and shadows, tonal ranges, textures and contrast to get that wow factor and the best out of your images.
About the author: Jeff Meyer is the editor of PhotoVenture, a photography blog for everything post-capture — improving photos, image management, sharing and more. This article originally appeared here.
The standard Polarising, UV and ND/GND filters are often attributed to colour photography. Yet they are also very useful with black and white.
Ted Grant once said “If you want to shoot fashion, shoot in colour, but if you want to shoot emotion, shoot in black and white”. Black and white portraiture brings the vision of the image back to its basic and most truthful state. It also stops colour and chaotic scenes from distracting you and stealing your focus.
Focusing on the basic ideas and continuing to identify, isolate and control the elements will help your photographic confidence.
Fortunately, it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours separately to introduce some contrast. However, a good starting point is to look for scenes with tonal contrast.
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.
Your phone may take great selfies and snaps of whatever you are eating, but have you thought about using it for your street photography? There are many benefits; It is less intrusive, fast and easy to use and you can edit the photographs then and there, and even share it with the world.
Head on over to this extensive article for an in-depth idea of what you should be looking for when shopping for portraiture lenses. It takes into account all the specifications and information you will need.
And sometimes the cheapest lens can be amazing and the most expensive can be disappointing. The article above will show you what the best lenses for landscape photography are, and give you the tools needed to choose the best one for yourself.
Black and White Photography Tip #10: Look for patterns. Patterns are interesting because of their ordered repetition. Color merely distracts us from giving the pattern our attention. By using black and white, images of patterns are far more compelling. Once you start looking for patterns to shoot in black and white, you’ll notice them everywhere: cars in a parking lot, the shoes of a wedding party standing in line, or a row of bushes.
The film of a camera is the flour in a cake. Do you want it fluffy or dense? With gluten or gluten-free? When it comes to photography, every film has a different purpose. Contrast, tones, detail and amount of available light can all affect the kind of film you use.
The first black and white analogue film was available in 1889. This means almost 130 years of research and development going into the film that you can buy today.
If you are looking for something a little more creative in the analogue world, look no further than this article. So if you want to emulate Ansel Adams, tintype photography is what you will be looking for!
Recommended Gear Photo Spots App IP Youtube Channel Beginner Tutorial Conference Premium Tutorials
This article helps you to get the best out of your black and white image by working with colour layers, filters and blending options.
Portraits are taken on anything from a smartphone to a large format camera with a digital back, but as DSLRs are the most used, we will focus there.
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.
There are many ways to convert to black and white, some of which are non-destructive (allows you to go back to colour if you like) but only a few ways where you can convert the image properly. This article tells you what you should or shouldn’t be doing to get the most out of your photographs.
What are you wanting to get out of your street photography is the biggest question. This article helps you answer it by giving you a round-up of the 8 best cameras, that have the capacity of taking your street photography to the next level.
Now that we have looked primarily at DSLRs, let’s turn our attention towards mobile photography.
The two differ a lot in cost, the amount of time and space you will need as well. It even comes down to whether you want to see the image as soon as you take it, or have the patience to wait with film.
Here we have a very in-depth look at 8 different styles you can create using either different processes or chemicals for that unique final image.
In this field, you are looking to capture as much detail as possible while keeping a high resolution. The important things in this field are using live view, knowledge of dynamic ranges and knowing how to use your DSLR’s sensor.
Until a few 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.
Black and white photography is the oldest style of photography. Every photograph that you can think of, has the potential to be black and white.
Naturally, when exposures extend beyond about 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.
Also, where you edit the pictures is also important, creating colour casts that change how you see our images. You might think that black and white images will not be affected, but they still use colour information in the grey, mid-tone areas of your work. Whatever you will be doing with your images as a final product, be it a book or an exhibition, they all need different treatments.
Black and White Photography Tip #15: HSL is the secret sauce. The last black-and-white tip is probably the most important. When post-processing a black and white, you absolutely MUST tweak the colors in the HSL panel in Photoshop or Lightroom. An exact tutorial on how to do this would be a blog post of its own, but your black and whites will look TEN TIMES better with an HSL adjustment.
Do you want to shoot in colour and convert the image in post-processing or go to in-camera black and white? This article helps you to answer these questions and shows you the fundamental ideas you need to think about and get you on the right path.
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.
There are many things that need to be rethought when you change from colour to black and white landscape photography. The lack of colour is a huge factor, the golden hour isn’t such a strong time to photograph, and now sunsets and sunrises become mediocre.
When it comes down to the editing of your photographs, the hardware can be just as important as the software you use. Your computer monitor will have a colour management system that will show your photographs differently to the colour management of the printing.
Shooting with your mobile is fast and easy, and now converting and processing your images into black and whites is no more difficult. This article shows you how to utilize an app to turn those images into something really dramatic.
If you want to go the extra mile and create black and white images completely by hand, then this article is for you. Developing film at home doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
This can 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, could inject some contrast (and interest) in to a woodland scene.
A darkroom might give you full control, but there are ways to work around not having one. Using a scanner to digitalise your work will keep all the film qualities, like grain, intact.
In this article, you can find a comprehensive list of what you should be looking for in a DSLR. Whether for portrait photography or anything else, it takes pricing and level of experience into account.
If you photograph only in colour, black and white photography needs a little shifting of your focus and attention. Before, you looked at complementing colours and effective white balance. Now, contrast, highlights and things like texture become more important.
The blurring of the movement also adds textural contrast with any solid objects in the frame. If necessary, use a neutral density filter such as Lee Filters’ Big Stopper or Little Stopper to reduce exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively).
Some have the capacity to stop some of the light so that a long-exposure is possible. Others add detail into otherwise overexposed skies and well-lit areas. Black and white photography is no different, and coloured filters can help enhance it.
If you follow these steps, not only will you know how to change your picture style, but also how to keep the colour information. This allows you to always revert back to the colour original. It is particularly important for post-processing, as no image data is lost.
This post will take you through each of them and show you how to make the most of black and white photography.
In Landscape/Nature, Post-processing by Jim HarmerMay 11, 201141 Comments
Compared to the ease of processing images in Lightroom, Photoshop is a little more complicated and requires more learning time.
All types of lenses are made to different requirements; some focus on light, others on chromatic aberrations and other unwanted effects.
Although coloured filters can still be used to manipulate contrast when shooting digital black and white images, it’s more common to save this work until the processing stage.
This concise article will help take you from composition and lighting, through to post-processing treatment.
Black and White Photography Tip #13: Don’t get fooled. I confess to have made this mistake many times. Sometimes I have shot a photo that includes very little color. For example, a close-up of a penguin, or a night sky, or a dalmatian dog. When I see these photos in Lightroom, I often reach for the black and white tools immediately, but I am always disappointed. If the photo is practically colorblind to begin with, it probably won’t look as good in black and white as in color.
What will you be photographing? Large groups of people in a studio setting? Standalone subjects with a bokeh background outdoors? Are you looking to use a wide range of lenses or one versatile lens, that can cover many different scenarios?
Black and white photographs are easy to create with apps such as Monokrom and Snapseed and can help create some impressive images.
Black and White Photography Tip #14: Shoot in HDR!!! I’m actually surprised how little attention is given to black and white HDRs on the web. I am so convinced of the merit of the black and white HDR that I spent an entire chapter in my HDR eBook talking explaining how to do it. HDR is great for black and white photography because it exaggerates the dynamic range and edges. Nothing pops quite like a black and white HDR.
They shoot in as many different scenarios as you can think of, at many different speeds. There are also specialist items, such as infra-red.
The best monochrome conversions are made 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 Picture Style/Picture Control/Film Simulation mode you get an indication of how the image will look in black and white.
Ansel Adams said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it”. This guide takes you through many ideas. Looking at the basic elements, what makes a great photograph and how to make it into a final, polished print.
This means that you can use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to brighten them to increase local contrast.
As we have seen so far, black and white photography concentrates on different attributes than that of colour. Architectural or Fine Art black is no different. In this article, we suggest that your photographic vision or idea needs to come from a ‘black and white mind’. This is, in essence, knowledge of what is important in what you want to photograph, and what you need to emphasize. Focusing on the scene, subject, point of view, light conditions to create the best images.
Although contrast works well in both colour and black and white, the latter needs it more to stand out and make a lasting impression.
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.
All the little motors and processors add a higher cost to the lenses, along with the equipment used to make them. The design and machines needed to create a lens at f/2 will be more expensive than a lens of f/4.
There are many great reasons why many street photographers still choose black and white over colour. These range from emulating the masters before them, to reducing chaotic scenes to a more simplified view. Understanding black and white helps the photographer show a specific focus of the image.
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Photographers have very different ideas in mind when they decide whether to shoot black and white, or colour.
Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools allow a level of control that film photographers could only dream of because you can target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both.
Black and White Photography Tip #8: Watch for texture. As long as texture is not front-lit, it will show contrast in fine details, which makes it a compelling subject for black and white. This is why black and white photos of old items such as barns or antiques are so compelling–they have a lot of weathered texture.
Coloured filters, which are an essential tool for monochrome film photographers, can also be useful for manipulating contrast in digital images.
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.
Post-Processing Black and White Photography Converting the Correct Way
It depends on your imagination and a few key skills. Every area of photography, from landscape to portraiture, have their own set of requirements when it comes to B&W photography.
Black and White Photography Tip #5: Look for contrast. In my experience, the best black and white photos usually have some portion of the photo that is near to pure white, and some portion of the photo that is near black. This increased contrast adds interest to the scene.
Photographers using DSLRs choose anything from wide-angle lenses, such as 11-16 mm, to moderate telephoto lenses, such as 85 mm. In this article, you can find lots of information about what the possibilities are and how to use them.
Black and White Photography Tip #7: Use a polarizer. When shooting around reflective surfaces such as water or leaves, use a polarizer to cut the reflections of the sun’s light. When color is removed from the photo, these specular highlights can be distracting the overall composition.
The cost of lenses can range from $200 to $2000 and some of you might think that the higher the cost, the better the lens. This is true most of the time. There are also other factors that need to considered.
Also, tweaking of contrasts and highlights can have very dramatic results in a Black and White photograph.
There are countless arguments whether to stick to the origins of photography and shoot with film or join the modern era and only use digital. The choice, at the end of the day, is down to you. Each of these has very different workflows, equipment and mindsets to get you to the same final stage: the photograph.
Because compact system 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.
Black and White Photography Tip #11: Long exposures love black and white. I read this tip on the fantastic Digital Photography School website and decided to try it on an image that I took a few months ago. I didn’t like the picture and had almost deleted it until I read that tip and applied black and white to the photo.
The downside is that you might want to digitalise the images. You will need a scanner for this, at an extra cost.
There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some strong blacks and whites.