Photography Talk. Black and White.

 

Before committing myself to learning the art of photography I had a fairly rudimentary understanding of black and white. I thought of it as a style, like a cute pencil skirt. “Oh this looks nice, I’ll wear it tomorrow”.

Dead wrong.

Black and white conversions can definitely be a signature aspect of one’s style but the decision to convert an image shouldn’t be made in post processing. It should be made long before you touch your camera.

I tinkered with different actions, gradient maps, and RAW conversions before learning on the Clickin’ Moms* forum that the strength of a black and white image often hinges on pre shoot planning and the quality of light.

Of course.

Dynamic lighting, strong compositions, interesting lines and textures, and vision are all necessary elements of a good black and white photo.

Avoid flat light. Pre-plan and conceptualize your shot when possible. Seek out leading lines and visually appealing textures. Use your creativity and pre-planning to push your vision from your mind to the photo.

It isn’t easy. I’m struggling but I’ve come a long way. I get it now. Black and white conversions can be used to hide uncomplimentary colors, technical photo flaws, and bad lighting but those images are not usually the stunners.

I want stunners.

Reading Creative Black and White: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques* was a game changer for me. I highly recommend it. It’s taught me how to look for look and create the right type of visual interest for a strong black and white image. I’m only a 1/4 of the way through but am already putting techniques to work.

Here are some examples.

blackandwhiteconversion

Bad black and white candidate. Flat lighting. Uncreative and uninteresting composition. Looks muddy around the face. Finger chop.

blackandwhiteconversion

Great lighting and good tonal range. Nice connection. Better composition. Much more dynamic photo.  

I used the same post processing techniques on both photos. Can you see the difference? It’s incredible what a little planning and use of good light can do.

Here are some great links I found about black and white conversions for you to check out.

Next week I’ll post my review of the portfolio review Stacie Turner conducted for me last week. She and I discussed my black and white struggles. I’ve made progress since our conversation. The review was incredible and really helped set me in the right direction for where I’d like to head next in my photographic journey. I can’t wait to tell you all more.

OH! Don’t you guys forget to enter the photography giveaway. It ends soon and I’d really like to make it huge to show my awesome sponsors some love. Would love your support. Please share and tell your friends.

Lastly, how can I help you? I’m no Ansel Adams but love to pay it forward. Leave questions, tips, or comments below.

What do you find most challenging about black and white photography?

 

 

 

*affiliate link*
Short URL: http://bit.ly/LQUWEV

  1. These days, using the channel mixer you can individually affect each color channel for the perfect black and white image. Having said that, black and white are most effective when properly exposing for a specific lighting ratio. This post is dead on; thanks for the share!


  2. i struggle with black and whites! I’ll have to check out these links. Love the second photo, I love the light!
    Roses Daughter recently posted… Vlogging about JuneMy Profile


  3. Isn’t this digital? It’s not black and white at all, it’s a digital image converted to greyscale. There is a major difference in product and longevity.


    • I’m aware of the differences but to the general public – an image devoid of color is a black and white image regardless of processing and shooting method. In terms of product and longevity – I use pro paper and back everything up in a few places. Better than the old days of just a sheet of paper you know? But I still like film too but most of my readers shoot digital hence this post. :)
      Veronica recently posted… Online learning with Lynda.comMy Profile