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Black And White Portrait Oil Painting.

Take Control. Although coloured filters could 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 a couple years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the favorite 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 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 could become unnatural looking. 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. The Levels and Curves controls should also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create discrimination between objects of the same brightness but with different colours.

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 dreary 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 forceful blacks and whites. This should 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, may 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 best composition.

Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots could 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 may help enhance tonal contrast. 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). classically , when exposures extend farther than as for 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.

Shoot RAW + JPEG. The best monochrome conversions are lighted on 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. 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 characteristic 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 kick in her camera’s live apprehension strategy , but the usually slower responses mean that many 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 simply as advantageous in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more advantageous . An ND grad is cooperative when you require to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter may be used to decrease reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, look on taking two or more shots with different exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite. Don’t be anxious 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, may also be advantageous for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of her opposite colour while lightening objects of his own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green one will lighten foliage.

Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a course of action 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 may only dream of because you could target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you may use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to brighten up them to grow local contrast. It’s a great channel of giving a sense of superior sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you could set the opacity of the tools, you may build up their effect gradually so the impact is crafty and there are no hard edges.

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Mix more shades of gray if you desire to blend the painted tones together more. Paint these onto the canvas, blending the different grays together as much as possible. Continue adding paint until you feel that all the tonal variations are well represented.

Look at your photo carefully. Try to identify the darkest and lightest parts of the photos and then look for the tones in between.

A high contrast black and white photo can help you better identify highlights and shadows. (Image: portrait of a woman. b&w portrait image by Elena Platonova from Fotolia.com)

Portrait painting presents many challenges for an artist. Some artists even consider the human form to be one of the most difficult subjects to tackle. Although it can be challenging, the practice of portrait painting can help you grow as an artist. To start out with, try painting in black and white tones. Black and white portraits are sometimes considered ideal for a beginning portrait painter, as shadows and highlights can be better identified and represented through this neutral color palette.

Portrait painting can be challenging for many artists. (Image: Portrait image by Nenad Djedovic from Fotolia.com)

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Draw a rough sketch of the portrait you are painting onto your canvas, using your charcoal. It is not necessary to include details in this rough sketch. Simple outlines and shapes are fine.

Mix a slightly lighter shade of gray. Look for the medium-toned areas of the photo and paint these onto your canvas. The medium-toned areas usually include the hair, the shadows created by the bridge of the nose, the lips and the shadows created by the cheekbones.

Mix some pure white paint with only a small touch of gray. The resulting mixed color should be close to pure white. Observe your photo, and identify the bright highlights. Paint these onto the canvas sparingly, as it is easy to overdo this bright white color, which could wash out the tonal variations of the painting. The brightest highlights of the face usually include the teeth, the reflections in the eyes and any reflections that may be seen in the hair.

Mix a light shade of gray. It should be darker than pure white, but lighter than the medium-tone gray you had been using. Identify the lightest areas of the photo, and paint them onto your canvas with your light gray paint. These lightest areas usually include the whites of the eyes, the bridge of the nose, the cheekbones and the chin. You may want to paint your background this shade as well.

Select a black and white photo of the person whose portrait you wish to paint. It helps if the photo is as large as possible, as this will make it easier to better identify the highlights and shadows.

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Mix your black and white paint together, until you are left with a medium-tone gray. Using your photo for reference, paint the darkest shadows you can see in the photo onto your canvas. The darkest areas usually include the neckline, the hairline, under the nose and under the eyes.

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