Bateman street london by nobuyuki tgauchi
The photo above was shot in highgate where i live i was sitting inside our local pub sipping on a pint of my favourite craft beer and then came this girl
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Black And White Street Photography London.

Shoot RAW + JPEG. The best monochrome conversions are run into 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. 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 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 could also do this if they activate her camera’s live funny feeling routine , but the usually slower responses mean that many will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.

Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a modus operandi 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 hope of because you could target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you should use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to brighten them to grow local contrast. It’s a great track of sharing a sense of better sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you may set the opacity of the tools, you should build up his effect gradually so the impact is subtle and there are no hard edges.

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 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). characteristically , when exposures extend beyond regarding 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.

Use Filters. 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 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, deem taking two or more shots with diverse 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, can also be useful for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of her 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 dowdy 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 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 greatest composition.

Take Control. 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. Until a some 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 should become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or rosy 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 could also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create delineation between objects of the same brightness but with diverse colours.

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And another from my Great Londoners. This man was in Camden Town walking, lost in his thoughts while holding his shopping in one hand and a cigarette ready to be lit in the other. I thought the light on his forehead was beautiful and he has something about him. I took the shot.

When well executed the diversity of tones is just as elaborate as colour would be.

I could go on and on but ultimately it is a personal choice / preference.

The photo above was shot in Highgate where I live. I was sitting inside our local pub sipping on a pint of my favourite craft beer and then came this girl. She looked at the food menu outside which left me with enough time to grab my camera and get the shot. Why do I particularly like this shot? I’d say mostly because it is timeless, it could be straight out of the sixties. I also think this girl looks quite beautiful and it was serendipitous, everything came together at the right moment.

Monochrome street photography has always had a special appeal. Photographers love it, photography buyers love it and it’s still in majority favoured over colour.

Many would argue that the lack of colours sets a stronger mood and atmosphere. It is timeless and can have a subtle element of mystery to it.

In Projects, Street Photography Tags Great Londoners, street photography project, street photography london, london street photography, cinematic style street photography, photographing Londoners, hoxton hotel holborn


This second shot was captured near the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. This was less of a “grabbing the moment” shot, more of a “wait for the shot”. I thought the composition was good and liked how the light fell on the scene but I needed the right people to walk into it. I took a few other shots but most people made the scene look messy. Then came these two guys who enhanced the composition and it all came together.

Part of my “Great Londoners” street photography series, I shot passers-by around London, mostly Camden and Kentish Town, for about a year. The set-up was simple. Camera and manual focusing 35mm lens at very wide aperture of f0.95. I’d zone focus at two metres away and shoot at the right moment which was tricky due to the razor thin depth of field. I saw this lady come from a mile away, she looked too cool to be missed. 

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I took a few shots here and there as I normally do but this time they curiously linked to one another through very similar aesthetic yet remaining individual and unique. All were shot from the same low angle, with a very wide aperture (f0.95 to f1.4), in black & white and somehow the focus was only (mainly) on one individual, often highlighting solitude and being lost in thoughts. I had a solid body of work in the making.

This was captured in Stoke Newington. Now you may start to think I spend my life in pubs. You’re not entirely wrong. Again though it’s a case of taking a break during my photo walks, grab a drink and here it is. The shot. I was inside, she was outside reading the menu and as I raised the camera… she looked at me and had that look “I’ve been snapped!”.

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For a street photographer a scene can easily be simplified to structure, texture and lines by capturing it in monochrome.

In Photography Inspiration, Photography Tips, Street Photography Tags black and white street photography, why choose black and white, colour street photography, London black and white street photography

The works of talented and passionate photographers from around the world capturing images of “life in our time”…

Most of the photos displayed here are available to buy as museum quality limited edition prints.

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I invite you to browse the current collection of “The Great Londoners” to see the full collection.

And then because by definition life is in colour, a monochrome image will undeniably offer a new perspective on life as we see it making it naturally more appealing.

There you are, these were my seven favourite photos shot in monochrome and I hope the story behind them was somehow interesting.

I used to work in an office once in Temple, London. During lunch breaks I’d escape my corporate prison, camera in hand and go shoot people. I was standing on Waterloo Bridge on a bright sunny day looking down. I framed my shot first as the shadow of the bridge lined nicely with the pavement. Then came this runner, I took the shot.

“The Great Londoners”, a series of black and white street photography work was exhibited three months for the opening of the Hoxton Hotel Holborn. The exhibition was supported and sponsored by Olympus UK and was featured in the Evening Standard as well as the Kentishtowner, a popular local magazine of the area these we shot in. 

I shoot a lot of colour street photography but it is true that colours are more challenging and can be very distracting whereas black and white does offer a more minimalist approach. 

The result achieved was a cinematic style street photography but with a real intimate feel. I was photographing Londoners lost in their thoughts, not smiling or posing, simply walking and being their true self. And importantly I shot them very close. Beautiful people although not in a conventional way. The shallow depth of field helped isolate the subject and made the background less distracting. Avoiding having other people in the shot also was crucial.

Now let me present to you what I think is my best recent London black and white street photography with a short behind the scenes explanation:

The Tate Modern is one of my favourite buildings in London. When I am walking around the city and feel the crowds overwhelm me, the Tate Modern feels like a refuge. The darkness inside the building paired with light seeping through the long tall windows creates beautiful scenes. This man walked into the frame with his little girl and her scooter. She ran away, leaving him there… abandoned. I took the shot.

Un globo, dos globos….la vida es un globo que se me escapó

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