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 instantaneously 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. providentially , 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. There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some powerful blacks and whites. This could 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, can 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.
Shoot RAW + JPEG. The greatest monochrome conversions are run across 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 style 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 can also do this if they activate their camera’s live conviction track , but the usually slower responses mean that numerous will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.
Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a custom 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 ambition 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 up them to increase local contrast. It’s a great convention of giving a sense of greater sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you should set the opacity of the tools, you could build up his effect gradually so the impact is crafty and there are no hard edges.
Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are simply 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 supportive when you want to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter could be used to reduce reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, deem taking two or more shots with different 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, should also be useful for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of his 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.
Take Control. Although coloured filters should 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 forceful 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 single 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 can become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or rosy 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 may also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create segregation between objects of the same brightness but with varied colours.
Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots can 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 place than they would with a short exposure and this could 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 reduce exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). classically , when exposures extend beyond concerning 1/60 sec a tripod is wanted 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.
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In the guest bedroom of this San Francisco home, Ken Fulk went with bold horizontal stripes that are “playful and modern.” Silhouettes of children hang behind the daybed.
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Custom black paint by Fine Paints of Europe sets the tone in this Chicago townhouse’s master bedroom, designed by Steven Gambrel. Meanwhile, an ivory canopy and white bedding add some dramatic romance.
As for Janet Gridley’s master bedroom in her Minnesota Colonial home, a custom mural wall covering by artist Thomas Darnell for Area Environments stars peonies against a black background. The clean white bedding with black monograms keeps the room from becoming too busy.
Designer Ken Fulk hung Ralph Lauren Home’s Sloane Stripe wallpaper in this San Francisco master bedroom, which he says “provides relief from the heavily ornamented bed.”
The guest suite in this Santa Barbara bedroom by designer Christina Rottman features a mix of black-and-white patterns with terra-cotta and red prints, which help tie the wooden ceiling beams into the palette.
Black and white is a classic color combination — and for a good reason. The strong neutrals serve as a solid backdrop for so many textures and decor styles. While bringing these two colors into your sleeping space might feel daunting, when you layer and accessorize, it really works. These spaces prove it.
Jill Sharp Weeks is back again with this petite Colonial-era master bedroom in her Charleston rental. The black upholstered headboard makes a statement against unadorned white walls.
Designers John Mayberry and Antonio Martins added architectural flat-file cabinets in this San Francisco bedroom so Mayberry would have a surface for drawing, as well as storage for completed works. The neutral palette serves as a clean backdrop for the makeshift art studio.
As for the guest bedroom in stylist Jill Sharp Weeks’ Charleston rental, she went with her signature mix of neutrals, including an iron bed frame and black-and-white striped linens.
Designer Janet Gridley’s daughter’s bedroom features Brunschwig & Fils Les Touches fabric on the headboard and walls, creating a whimsical vibe in their Minnesota Colonial home. A coverlet by Jonathan Adler adds color to keep the room feeling young.
The red velvet headboard is “grand and whimsical,” says the designer of this California bedroom, Stephen Shubel. To prevent the entire room from becoming “over-the-top,” he went with a palette of mostly black, white, and ivory for the rest of the space.
In the master bedroom of this New Jersey home (designed by Michael Aiduss), black unifies the variety of furniture styles, white helps the room feeling serene, and yellow gives it a bit of energetic fun.
Designer Betsy Brunham infused this Los Angeles home with Moroccan motifs, including in the master bedroom, which features a bed by Posse Furniture and a shaggy white throw that adds texture to the room.
Designer Tobi Tobin installed Ralph Lauren Home’s Ashfield Floral wallpaper in the guest room of her Hollywood Hills cottage, which added a bit more of a romantic, feminine vibe.