Q& a: Black & white

Digital SLR Photography - - The Beginner ’s Guide -

Q Should I shoot in black & white mode? it’s per­sonal pref­er­ence, but you don't need to un­less you’re ad­verse to edit­ing. for the best black & white im­ages, you want to set im­age qual­ity to raw+ Jpeg. a raw file is the equiv­a­lent to a film neg­a­tive, con­tain­ing all the colour in­for­ma­tion needed to process your b& w im­age. a Jpeg, on the other hand, has al­ready been con­verted and the colour in­for­ma­tion dis­carded af­ter the cam­era process your pic­ture. shoot­ing in raw + Jpeg gives you the best of both worlds: the chance to pre­view your mono­chrome im­age in- cam­era as well as re­tain the raw colour data to cre­ate a com­pelling fi­nal pic­ture.

Q What can help me vi­su­alise in mono if you shoot in raw+ Jpeg and se­lect the mono­chrome Pic­ture style, ac­ti­vat­ing live­view will set the screen to show im­ages in b& w. it's the eas­i­est way to pre­vi­su­alise the scene in mono. or you could take a shot with your smart­phone. you can use smart­phone apps, such as lenka, sim­ply b& w and hue­less to do a quick anal­y­sis of a scene be­fore you com­pose your pho­to­graph.

Q When should I con­vert to mono? the sim­ple an­swer is: when­ever you want. there are no hard and fast rules, but it is worth not­ing not all scenes suit the style. you want to look for scenes that have a wide tonal range for con­trast and strong lines and shapes for in­ter­est as these tend to make the best black & whites. there are cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, how­ever, that call for con­ver­sion: bad weather and long ex­po­sures ( see p72), dra­mat­i­cally- lit por­traits ( p74) and graphic ab­stracts ( p76). a black & white im­age can also save a not- so- suc­cess­ful colour im­age if, for in­stance, you’re strug­gling with an awk­ward white bal­ance and need to neu­tral­ize mixed light­ing, colour casts from nd fil­ters or noise from shoot­ing with a high iso rat­ing.

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