Shoot RAW + JPEG. The greatest monochrome conversions are found by chance 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 most 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. most 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 could also do this if they kick in her camera’s live image procedure , but the usually slower responses mean that most will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.
Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a roadway 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 ambition of because you may 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 perk up them to increase local contrast. It’s a great manner of giving a sense of greater 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.
Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are merely as advantageous in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more useful . An ND grad is helpful when you require to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter should be used to reduce reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, evaluate taking two or more shots with diverse 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, can also be advantageous for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of his 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.
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 straight away 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 dowdy straight from the camera. luckily , it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours singly to introduce some contrast. However, a great 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 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, 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 best composition.
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 a couple years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the favorite means of turning colour images monochrome, but now Adobe Camera Raw has more strong 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 subtle gradations can become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or pink shirt with the red sliding control, for moment , 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 diverse colours.
Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots may 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 should 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 decrease exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). typically , when exposures extend farther than about 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.
Related Images of Black And White Portraits High Contrast
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Congratulations People’s Choice “Love on the Rocks” by Marshal
“Wedding photographer in Lake Como and Lake District, Italy.” by alessandroavenali
“This image speaks to me from an emotional point of view. The natural light falling on the face is perfect and the exposure across the whole image is spot on. Even though this might be more of a candid shot than a portrait its beautifully executed and lovely monochromatic finish.” – Kevin Mullins
Congratulations Amateur Winner “Silky Water” by MarvinEvasco17
“This is such a well spotted image. It’s a scene that is made for monochrome. Perhaps a slightly wider lens choice if possible.” – Kevin Mullins
Thank you to all the photographers that shared their best high contrast B&W shots in this photo contest with chances to win your prize choice. A special thanks to friend and professional photographer Kevin Mullins for his collaboration as a guest judge. Kevin is a multi-award winning wedding photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Wiltshire, England. He shoots wedding in a “pure” documentary style meaning he doesn’t intervene, or contrive any image throughout the day. As well as shooting weddings, Kevin is a recognized speaker in the field of wedding photography and the business of wedding photography.
“Another epically wonderful image. I really want to study the image and look through its layers. This image would look wonderful nice and large and framed on a wall. I love looking at it.” – Kevin Mullins
Congratulations Runner Up “black and white” by CliftonTicehurst
Congratulations Runner Up “Old Style Workmanship – Queen Victoria Building, Sydney” by philipjohnson
“I really love this image and want to find out where the child is going. He’s having fun, or rushing somewhere? The exposure is excellent in challenging conditions. It’s a well seen and well executed image. The Black and White conversion is perfect and detail is lost in the shadows but only to enhance the image.” – Kevin Mullins
Congratulations Grand Jury Winner “Miroir d’Eau Pt. II – Sprint” by Vemsteroo
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