Tip & How-To about Cameras

5 More Black & White Photography Tips

Black & white photography is one of the most interesting and inspiring aspects of this art form we call our hobby and passion. It's raw & refined, natural and unusual, bold and subtle, mysterious and open, emotional and indifferent, simple and complex, black & white & everything in between. The monochrome image has been practicing photography since the beginning, but what began as the only way to capture images is turned into something much deeper.
1. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE An experienced black & white photographer can see the world without color. They've trained their mind to pick up contrast and tone while blocking the distraction of colors. This isn't a skill that you can pick up in a short amount of time; it's something that comes naturally in time. I can't say that I'm gifted enough to have monochrome vision, but I have been able to notice certain scenes and subjects that would lend themselves to black & white.

One way to help train your brain is to make a conscious effort - in other words, practice. Trevor carpenter gave us the perfect example when he started his October Challenge. Basically, he decided to limit his photography to black & white for an entire month. This gave him a chance to experiment with the medium and learn from his own work, and in his project recap he states "I have found, especially in recent days, that as I'm shooting and conceiving a shot, I see the potential impact of the composition in black & white."
Zig Zag

2. FOCUS ON CONTRAST Black & white photography is about the black, the white, and all the tones in between. The human eye is built to pick up two things: light intensity and color. When you remove the color, your eyes become more sensitive to the light intensity. We naturally pick out areas of contrast - it's how we distinguish one thing from another. As a black & white photographer, your main objective is to make your point with shades of gray. Use contrast to show your onlookers what's important and what's not. Seek out scenes that naturally show signs of high contrast, and your black & white photos will be more compelling right from the start.
When post-processing a black & white image, the use of Photoshop techniques like levels, curves, and layer blends give you a wide variety of output options. In addition to these things, burning and dodging are highly effective methods of improving contrast. They work so well because they allow you to focus the edit on a localized portion of the image without affecting the surrounding areas
3. FOCUS ON TEXTURE Texture is really just a form of contrast, but it is perceived quite differently. If you think about it, texture is the regular or irregular pattern of shadows and highlights at various intensities. Black & white photos really lend themselves to texture because color generally add another layer of complexity, thus masking most subtle textures. Look for areas of interesting texture that can be photographed by zeroing in on specific surfaces and examining them for signs of patterned contrast.

The choices you make in post-processing can really make a difference in the texture too. During the black & white conversion, you can usually pull texture out of otherwise smooth surfaces based on your choice of conversion methods. In digital photos, blues and reds generally contain more noise than greens, so tools like the channel mixer and the black & white adjustment layer in Photoshop can really accentuate those embedded textures.

4. CAPTURE IN COLOR This is mainly aimed at digital photographers... If your camera gives you the option of shooting in color or black & white, NEVER shoot in black & white. The camera is really capturing color, then converting to black & white. Photo editing software can do a much better job at the conversion, and you'll have more flexibility on the output of the final image. It's really amazing how different a photo can look solely based on the post-processing, so it's best not to limit yourself before the photo even makes it out of the camera

The one exception to this rule is if you wanted to use the black & white capture to give you a preview of what the scene might look like as a monochrome image. It may help you identify good black & white scenes more immediately, but once you find your shot switch back over to color capture and shoot it again.
Under the Weather

5. USE COLOR FILTERS Black & white film photographers make use of color filters to change the captured tones in their photographs. Ever see those monochrome images with dark skies and puffy white clouds? That's not natural; it requires the use of color filtering to produce the desired effect.

Using an actual color filter with a digital camera is perfectly acceptable and it has its merits, but it's not completely necessary. Software like Photoshop has the ability to apply non-destructive color filters. It also has the ability to produce the same results as a color filter during the black & white conversion. For those of you using Photoshop CS3, you'll see that the black & white adjustment dialog has several preset filters that can be applied and modified to suit the photo.

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4 Answers

How to choose camera are best for wedding photography?


I would suggest nokia, it has an extremely sharp lens and also getting for an unbeatable price. This lens provides a great portrait focal length and has the added ability of taking stunning close-up wedding shots. Home

Jul 11, 2015 | Cameras

1 Answer

Just how do I start photography as just a hobby?


I assume you have a D-SLR, to start off, you need to know what you want to be photographing. because that will let you know what equipment you'll need as well.
have you been watching youtube?
there are many photographers who give tons of tips.( Matt Granger, Jared Polin ( Froknowsphoto), Eric Rossi. ) and lots more.
you'll want some photoshop to go along with that as well specially once you start shooting raw. photoshop lightroom will do great.
and if after the countless video's on youtube you still feel that you want to know more you can always try some courses.

youtube pages
eric rossi
Jared Polin
Matt Granger


Jul 12, 2013 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

can;t find setting for black and white photos on olympus x-930


The camera itself has no sterring for black and white. It has a "magic filter", but that gives you four template styles (wedding, pop art, sketch and pin hole). Page 27 of the manual, if you want to try it.....

http://www.olympusamerica.com/files/FE-5020_X-935_FE-4010_X-930_Instruction_Manual_EN.pdf

However, most post capture software packages (except camedia, it seems) offer a black and white conversion option. Something like Adobe Photoshop would do it (but there are also cheaper ones out there).

This might be an interesting read:
http://digital-photography-school.com/digital-black-and-white

Mar 01, 2010 | Olympus Cameras

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