How to create stunning black and white photos in a digital format
Shooting pictures in black and white presents unique challenges for beginners and experienced digital photographers alike. A strong understanding of photography’s fundamentals is crucial to capturing great black and white images, and factors such as contrast and lighting are much more integral to black and white photography than to color. Black and White Digital Photography Photo Workshop teaches digital photographers the skills they need to master black and white photography.
- Focuses on the rules of photography and how they apply differently to black and white photography
- Offers guidance for properly uploading digital images to a computer
- Explains insider tips and tricks for using Photoshop and Lightroom to successfully enhance black and white images
Black and white photography presents different challenges than color photography. In Black and White Digital Photography Photo Workshop, photographers learn how to identify great opportunities for black and white photographs and how to turn those opportunities into stunning monochrome images they can be proud to display.
From the Author: Sample Photos and Their Stories
One vital element of good black and white photography is lighting and how the light affects your subjects. I believe that many of the black and white images that I shoot are light driven, meaning that many times I will see how the light and shadow are interacting with the subject in front of me, and will use the tones and contrast there to determine if it should be a color or black and white image.
This can happen whether there is the bold contrast of big areas of light and shadow, or the subtle tones of gray, smoothly fading towards bright and dark areas. Pay attention to the shapes and textures of the scene in front of your camera, and start to engage your brain in trying to learn how the colors of real life will convert into tones and textures in monochrome.
In your home, on a walk or even on your commute, begin to see the tones of light and dark all around you to help visualize how the contrast of the light is creating the emotional tone of the scenes in front of you. Ask yourself questions about the light always helps in visualizing-is this a bright or dark scene? Is the interaction of the light and dark areas of the scene hard and abrupt or is it soft and gradual? How does this light fit the scene? And finally… how does the light in the scene make me feel?
Spend more time trying to visualize how light is creating the shape, texture and contrast in the scene in front of your camera and the feel that you are attempting to share in your black and white photographs, than worrying too much about a lot of technically perfect settings. Imparting the feel and emotion of the scene in front of you will be far more impactful to the viewer than making sure you had just the right f/stop.
(see story below)
(see story below)
(see story below)
The image of the commuter’s legs is interesting to me because of the strong lines and contrast of the scene. With a square shaped image, the line of legs and shadow created with the backlight of the setting sun on the sidewalk keep our eyes moving right back to the shoes and the step. All of the other line and texture in the scene continue to do the same thing, bringing interest right back to the point of the step. This image really breaks the rule of thirds, and yet there is subtle interesting balance by being off kilter and just off center.
1/1600 second, f/4 and ISO 320 Sunset
So often the color of a sunset becomes such a big focus in photography that we forget how much the beauty of that sunset can be seen in black and white. The layers of the scene are shown with the different textures from top to bottom, from ethereal sky, to smooth foothills, to the soft rounded texture of the trees down to the pastoral agelessness of the barn and wagon.
1/80 second, f/7.1 and ISO 320 Boxer
A moment of reflection is captured in a split second after a bout; the boxer readies himself for the judges’ decision. Black and white photography brings the focus right to his lean and muscular shape and expression in the soft tones of the shadows, while in color this image may be full of distraction colors, from the ringside ropes to the color of the light itself.
1/320 second f/2.8 and ISO 4000