There are several ways your iPhone can save files, which method produces the highest quality images?
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A high-key image is conventionally bright, and composed primarily of highlight tones.
To achieve this look, seek out naturally light subjects, being careful to ensure that your camera meter doesn’t turn your bright areas into mushy grey (you may have to set +1 stop exposure compensation or more).
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You can influence the direction of the light by moving your position and shooting at certain times. Low angled light, for example, helps define form and makes for interesting shadows, so try shooting in the morning or late afternoon.
4. Adjust the Hue slider for a colour change, the Saturation slider for the strength of colour and the Lightness slider for overall exposure.
Nailing the correct exposure for digital workConverting raw images to black and whiteCreating images with maximum tonal rangePreserving the subtlety and avoiding digital artifactsCreating images that match your artistic visionPrepare your files for print
Look beyond colors, and try to visualise how shapes, textures and tones will be recorded
You’ll need to use your camera’s menu system to access the processing parameters. Here, in addition to contrast and sharpness you can play around with coloured filters. Yellow or green can be good for skin tones, whereas red can cut through the haze in distant views.
Again, the technique is suited perfectly to black and white photography, with portraiture and still-life being the easiest and most rewarding subjects upon which to attempt it.
Depending on the situation, a polariser can either heighten or lessen contrast, so sample with the filter and see what produces the best results.
Here are some examples of what to avoid when looking for suitable subjects for black and white photography.
Fog, mist and haze all have the potential to lower subject contrast and create a soft, romantic feel to an image.
Anyone who wants to create black and white images of professional quality. Any skill level with any kind of digital camera, including smartphones, are welcome. Photographers with DSLRs shooting RAW files will benefit most.
Because every camera is different, I can’t tell you how to use your camera. I will talk about some settings and metering. Please familiarize yourself with how your camera works and how to transfer images to your computer for editing.
Out of doors direct sunlight creates hard shadows that offer plenty of opportunity to create images with strong contrast.
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The best black and white photography exploits the differences in tone between elements in a scene, which can either be photographed ‘straight’ or manipulated either by using on-camera filters, or Photoshop. Great black and white photos also make good use of shapes, textures, lines and lighting, to compensate for the loss of colour.
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Your monitor is your reference. Make sure it’s telling you the truth.
Consider using a telephoto lens to ‘stack up’ the image elements one on top of the other.
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Undoubtedly the speediest way to produce a black and white photo is to let your camera handle the conversion.
The techniques of both high- and low-key lighting lend themselves naturally to black and white photography.
A simple overview of the zone system for historic understanding.
Our eyes see in colour but to be successful in black and white photography it’s important to train them to see the world as tones of grey.
Alternatively to, or in fact concurrently with, textures, many objects and surfaces have interesting textures which lend themselves to black and white.
The classic subjects for mono treatment include documentary, landscape and portraiture.
One way that you can make a study of patterns is by keeping an eye out for recurring themes. Looking at architecture and public structures should yield some promising subjects.
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Remember that objects and features closer to the lens will tend to show heavier tones than elements that are further away, so bear this in mind when composing your shot.
Coloured filters have long been associated with black and white photography. This is because they have the remarkable ability to lighten their own colour, while darkening their opposites.
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When you use photo-editing software to remove the color from an image you instantly lose one element that the viewer relies on to interpret the scene. So other elements become even more important for successful black and white images.
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Getting the best from your iPhone for great black and white work. Bring your iPhone or iPad as an awesome pre-visualizer!
The timeless quality of black and white photography makes it a must-try subject for any photographer to try.
While it’s now simpler than ever to convert your images to black and white, especially now with the host of smartphone apps like Instagram that offer an array of filters, for truly impressive results it pays to think about how and what you shoot, and then know how to use your photo editing software’s powerful tools to get the most from your shots.
Digital photography and real-time editing has changed the way we think about exposure. The zone system is nice, but ultimately not required… so now what?
When it comes to black-and-white imagery, being able to ‘see’ how your final shot will look is a key skill. It’s important to understand how the color image you see through your camera’s viewfinder or on the rear screen will translate into a striking monochrome image. To get the best results, you have to look beyond the colours, and instead try to visualise how a shot’s shapes, textures and tones will be recorded.
The Masterful Way, Tools and Gear, and The Creative Process. In the first section you will learn the mindset and principles of becoming a black and white master. In the second section, you’ll learn about software and camera settings to get the best results. In the Third section you’ll see how to edit images creatively based on what you learned earlier.
Create black and white photographs with stunning tonal range. Edit black and white photographs with confidence producing professional results. Enjoy a creative process similar to 20th century masters using modern digital techniques.
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To appreciate an object’s outline there needs to be tonal variation between subject and background. Reducing your focal point to a silhouette is a marvellously effective method to achieve this.
In our expert guide, we’ll show you how to see in mono, choose your subjects, set up your camera and then explore how simple but effective adjustments in Photoshop or Lightroom can make your images really stand out.
In-camera black and white, although the fastest method of conversion, offers the least flexibility. In particular, saving your image as a monochrome JPEG means that you won’t be able to access the separate RGB channels at a later stage should you wish to.
Another useful filter for black and white photography is a neutral density (ND) filter. Allowing extended shutter speeds in bright conditions, using an ND filter allows more control when shooting moving water, for example, and can mean more post-production creative freedom.
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Travel photography lends itself to a documentary approach rather than just a record of tourist attractions.
In order to avoid camera shake when handholding, ensure that the shutter speed equals the focal length. Alternatively, gain access to longer shutter speeds by using a tripod.
1. If you want to selectively add new colours, create an additional Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and set this to your chosen colour.
A case study of an iPhone image that gets the Moonrise treatment.
Paring down the image to a range of simple tones often leads to a purer rendition.
2. Now, from the tool bar, choose the rubber and use it to expose the colour beneath, leaving the new hue where you want it.
Fine detail, or strong textures such as weather-beaten stone, foliage or clouds, can help to give your black-and-white shots depth and interest. Strong side lighting is perfect for bringing out the texture in any subject. You can use strong natural light, or get creative with flash to create side-lighting on the subject.
The success of your black-and-white shots relies on several different factors, but the main thing to look out for is a main subject that will appear in a significantly different shade of grey to the background. Then look out for subtleties of tone and texture that will add depth to your images.
Learn how to shoot black and white photographs with our expert’s advice on black and white photography
Even if the lighting is dull, a well-chosen muse will offer a striking tonal contradiction. For instance, a black sheep among a white flock will naturally be a source of contrast.
Your histogram is your best friend and your replacement for the zone system.
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A natural way to add contrast to your image is through choice of subject.
Black and white photos actually include a whole range of greys, which add subtlety to your images. Normally, you look for subjects that will translate into a range of tones from black to white, but you can also get great results where the subject is mostly light (high-key) or dark (low-key).
Portraits often look stronger in black and white because, without the distraction of colour, the emphasis is on character, expression, and revealing ‘the soul’ of the subject.
A PNG image to view on your monitor for calibration purposes.
Tonal contrast is important in all types of photography, but especially in black and white photography. Whether a low contrast image a high one the contrast level can have a profound effect on the mood and atmosphere.
A red flower in a green field may look great in colour, but when converted to mono, if those colours reproduce as the same shade of grey the result will be a very dull picture.
It’s certainly true that with some skilful conversion and adjustment in Photoshop post-shoot you can add drama , but the sturdier the building blocks the better your finished image will be.
Black and white images need strong compositions to really work. Keep an eye out for strong lines or features in your scene that can be used as leading lines, or positioned diagonally across the frame to create dynamic images.
However, without the right kind of lighting this can go unnoticed. Imagine for a moment the surface of the moon. The craters nearest the terminator are the easiest to distinguish because sunlight is striking them obliquely creating highlights right alongside strong shadows. Scale this down and the same kind of harsh, slanting light can be just what’s needed for bringing out texture. Use direct flash or a spotlight and position it low and to one side. Effective lighting really is the key to revealing texture.
Black and white photography: Using in-camera black and white
Monochrome can make a brooding feature out of an overcast sky so it’s a good way to go when the weather is against you.
Base your exposure on the bright background, take an average reading, and be sure to select a foreground subject that is easily recognised.
Great black and white photography is not accidental but the product of a skilled craftsman. Simply desaturating your photo in Photoshop won’t give you the results you’re after. You need to know how to properly convert your images to black and white and how to creatively modify the image to create a true work of fine art. Now that the art form has evolved from film to digital files, how do you work as a modern black and white artist? How can you be sure you’re creating the best quality image?
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Normally a singular, directional light-source in a room with little or no available light will produce the best results.
Here’s a run-down of the most common elements that you should look for when identifying a suitable subject for the black-and-white treatment. Remember that these elements can be used individually, or even combined to produce marvellous mono images with clout.
Learn the correct mindset for becoming a master of black and white photography.
Most DSLRs have a monochrome mode so it’s worth exploring this creative alternative.
Therefore, if this is the case it may be prudent to save two versions – one as a JPEG that you can use then and there, and one as a RAW image, which can be processed later on if needs be.
Many models also boast funky toning effects – try sepia for a vintage feel, while blue can add a cool tint to an architectural scene.
If the scene you’re shooting relies on color for mood or impact, chances are you’ll be better off keeping the image in color, as in our mushroom image above. Sunrise or sunset shots are another good example; you should always ask yourself whether the image loses some impact without the subtle hues.
2. Go to: Enhance > Adjust Colour > Adjust Hue/Saturation (Photoshop: Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation).
It’s tempting to think that white balance doesn’t matter if you’re going to remove the color, but because the success of any conversion relies on successfully translating colors into attractive tones, it’s important to capture an image without any colour casts.
For example, a red filter can turn a blue sky almost black. It’s worth noting that digital cameras often offer a filtering option already built into them, meaning that you can have a play with this effect in-camera before investing in an expensive set of filters.
So, unless you’re trying to create a minimalist image it’s worth taking the time to capture maximum detail in the best lighting conditions possible.
4. You can add as many adjustment layers as you like this way, just remember to: Layer > Flatten Image, when finished.
Along with our best black and white photography tips, we’ll reveal how to get creative with high-contrast graphic compositions and create moody landscapes, and show you how dramatic high- and low-key effects can be used to transform your still life photography and portrait photography.
Recognising potential shots when out in the field can take practice, so why not try converting some of your existing images to black and white to get a better feel for what will work.
There’s no absolute right or wrong when it comes to choosing a subject for black and white photography, but you’ll come across subjects and scenes that rely on colour for their impact, and also lighting conditions that don’t work well in monochrome.
Or overexpose to make your shadows midtones, and your midtones highlights. This technique can be great for high-key mono portraits.
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Alternatively choose a subject close to where you live, and remember to visit often and shoot plenty so that you can build up a story over time.
Learn how to control your creative process and software to create the very best black and white images.
Following on with the concept of contrast, have a hunt for striking patterns and textures.
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A large aperture can be useful here to help to pick out one plane in particular and thereby establish a focal point.
It’s easy to think that because you don’t need bright colors you can shoot black and white photography in any light or in any weather.
However, simply adjusting your relationship to the light can have a great improvement. Moving to an angle of between 45° and 90° will give a heightened sense of volume by placing useful shadows on the far side of your subject.
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One of the fundamental aspects of black and white photography is that your whole composition relies on contrast (for on composing images, see our 10 rules of photo composition – and why they work). For this reason, look out for subjects that feature simple, strong lines and shapes. It’s often the shadows that define shape and form, so pay attention to areas of darkness, as well as light.
When it’s misty or foggy out, the world is almost transformed into a naturally monochrome wilderness populated with enchanting tones and an eerie stillness. Bearing this in mind, why not get out and about next time a mist rolls in off the sea or a fog settles for the evening?
The opposite is true for low-key images, which are conventionally dark, comprising of a range of either dark, or completely black, areas punctuated with highlights to complete images with extended contrast.
You should know how to use your camera’s basic features, like manually setting aperture and shutter speed. Get Tonality CK from Macphun.com (Any modern version of Photoshop can be used as a substitute, but will be more difficult to use.
) Adobe’s Camera RAW plugin will be used within Photoshop. You can use RawTherapee as an Open Source alternative to Adobe’s Camera Raw. If you own Lightroom AND the plugins that allow you to create layers, you should be able to follow along, but Lightroom will not be used for lectures.
The instructor does not own Lightroom and can’t answer specific questions about Lightroom. The instructor uses Mac OS and iOS and can’t support Windows software.
When reducing landscapes to monochromatic tones the composition becomes more important than ever. Make the most of your foreground, remember to include a focal point, and use leading lines and graphic shapes where possible.
How To How to master black and white photography How to master black and white photography
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Understanding the impact of form on your final image is also useful for black and white phtoography. For example, having the sun at your back certainly ensures even illumination, but sadly produces an image that often looks flat.
The humble polariser is a filter worthy of consideration here too, due to its ability to remove glare and saturate skies. The impact this can have when it comes to post-processing is striking.
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This course will walk you through the maze of information you need to create great work. You’ll learn how to convert raw files to black and white with precise control and edit files with creative vision. You’ll learn how to create image files that are professional quality and worthy of archival gallery prints.
Subjects that rely on contrasting colors – such as a purple crocus against a green lawn – generally don’t work well in black and white. This is because the two colors will end up looking similar in tone when converted.
The second method is to apply selective colour to highlight points of interest. It’s as simple as it is effective. Here’s how to do it:
The quality of the light and its direction are two other important factors that will influence the amount of contrast present in a scene.
Concentrating on interesting shapes can be a great way of crafting a bolder image.
The heart of your creative process when editing a black and white image.
It takes time to develop an eye for mono. One way to help it along involves taking a photographic grey card out and comparing it with objects you encounter. Ask yourself, would that colour be lighter or darker than the grey card?