I am always tempted to shoot in black and white in-cam. But based on my readings and advise of experts, it is better to shoot in color and convert to black and white later during post-processing. That way you don’t lose information that is fully captured in color – tones, shadows, highlights, dynamic range – which can all be useful and adjusted during conversion to black and white. So first and foremost, capture it good in color. I read somewhere that a good color photograph is a good black and white photograph.
The considerations are basically the same. What you look out for when photographing in color applies in black and white – lighting, lines, shapes, form, textures, patterns – and it would do well to be aware of these. Your composition will be guided by these elements. The above photo of a butterfly on thin vines was originally in color. And it was quite, well, colorful and vibrant. But I thought it would look good in black and white because of those dark and white patches, and the defined form of the creature against a light background. I have said before that not all color photos will work well in black and white. It’s your judgement call and you have the option to experiment. Which is also the wisdom in capturing in color; you can always revert back to the original color capture if the converted image to monochrome does not look interesting or appealing.
Happy weekend everyone! Saturdays and Sundays for me are reserved for this classic medium, allowing me the opportunity to further explore, discover and pursue the art of black and white photography. You can view these B&W images through the Monochrome Weekend category or the Monographs tab in the top menu of this page. Take care always blogger peers!
I don’t think you can create luck. You’re either lucky or you’re not. I don’t know if it’s really luck or if it’s just curiosity. I think the main ingredient, or a main ingredient for photography is curiosity. If you’re curious enough and if you get up in the morning and go out and take pictures, you’re likely to be more lucky than if you just stay at home.~Elliott Erwitt
Black and white photography is a bit of an odd way to describe this type of photography. A black and white photo often contains mainly grey tones. This is why black and white photos are often called monochrome photos too.
Black and white photos give you their information by using luminance variations, not by showing variations in color. Your thoughts are not distracted by the colors and therefore the attention goes to subject, composition and lighting.
Not every subject is suited for a black and white photo and it isn’t always easy to ‘see in black and white’. There are, however, things you can pay attention to when looking for good subjects for your black and white photos. Subjects with lots of contrast will be more suited by the large variations in luminance. The right light is important; light that’s coming from an angle will make textures stand out. Light coming for only one direction will produce big differences in light and shadow…
Experienced black and white photographers are often able to think away the color in a scene. They imagine the scene in black and white. To do this, you’ll need a lot of practice, but it’s possible for anyone to learn. If you have a hard time trying to see in black and white you can always just take a black and white shot and view it the camera display. If you’re not using RAW, retake the shoot in color to be able to perform you’re own conversion instead of relying on the standard black and white conversion.
~Elja Trum from his article Black and White Photography; The World Without Color
I saw this grasshopper one morning perched on an aloe vera plant at the house. It was still and I immediately saw the reason for its non-activity. Missing were its most powerful anatomical parts – its hind legs. Hurriedly I took out the digital camera and took shots. Some thoughts ran into my mind – I was taking advantage of a poor, hapless creature. But then its immobility was a strong attraction. For crying out loud, now was not the time to have a conscience for a cricket! So I snapped on, took different angles, tried different perspectives and came out with a couple of dozen shots. Afterwards, I took hold of the creature by the wings and gently settled it on a bush across the fence. In its condition, I don’t know if it could even survive the day but I thought I had done my part by placing it in a most conducive environment. And the lesson is? Photographers may be relentless, inflexible and determined when it comes to taking a shot, yet they are only human; they also have a heart. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!
It’s the subject matter that counts. I’m interested in revealing the subject in a new way to intensify it. A photo is able to capture a moment that people can’t always see.~Harry Callahan
Photographs are created within a spatial context, and that context is the viewfinder frame. This may be carried through unchanged to the final image, whether print or on-screen, or it may be cropped or extended. In whichever case, the borders of the image, nearly always a rectangle, exert strong influences on what is arranged inside them.
There is an important distinction, nevertheless, between composing photographs in the frame as they are intended to be, and planning ahead to either crop or extend the frame. Most 35mm film photography has been concerned with tight, final composition at the time of shooting, and at times this has led to a culture of demonstrating the fact by showing the rebates (the frame edges of the film) in the final print—a way of saying “hands off” once the shutter has been released. Square-format film…is less amenable to comfortable composition, and is often used for later cropping. Large format film, such as 4×5-inch and 8×10-inch, is large enough to allow cropping without much loss of resolution in the final image, and is also often cropped, particularly in commercial work. Now digital photography adds its own twist to this, as stitching becomes more widely used for panoramas and over-sized images…
Facility at using this frame depends on two things: knowing the principles of design, and the experience that comes from taking photographs regularly. The two combine to form a photographer’s way of seeing things, a kind of frame vision that evaluates scenes from real life as potential images…
~Michael Freeman from his book The Photographer’s Eye
Article Excerpt: “So what if all you have is a good point-and-shoot camera – is nature photography out of the question for you? Not at all. Most decent point-and-shoot cameras have macro settings and zoom lenses that give you a fair range from wide-angle to telephoto which can be extended with adapters added to the camera. If you love nature and have an eye, you can get some spectacular shots without recourse to more advanced equipment…The main skill is in seeing and appreciating what is there and then capturing it as you see it so that you can share with others.”~David Phillips from his article Nature Photography