GET THE SHOT BE­FORE THE EDIT

Cut out the com­puter and cre­ate stun­ning mono­chrome im­ages in-cam­era

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

1

No need to pre­vi­su­alise

The most dif­fi­cult as­pect of black and white photography is pre­vi­su­al­is­ing how the fi­nal im­age will ap­pear. When you look at a colour­ful sub­ject or scene with the naked eye, it’s hard to imag­ine how those colours will trans­late to shades of grey. Some colours con­vert to sim­i­lar grey tones – red and green, for ex­am­ple – and this can have a big im­pact on the fi­nal im­age. By shoot­ing with your cam­era in mono­chrome mode, you don’t have to pre­vi­su­alise be­cause you’ll see the black and white im­age in­stantly, and you’ll know there and then if it works – and if not, you can im­prove it (see bot­tom-right box­out).

2

What you see is what you get

If your cam­era has an elec­tronic viewfinder (EVF) and you set it to mono­chrome mode, the im­age you see in the viewfinder with the cam­era to your eye will be in black and white, so you can see how it will look be­fore even trip­ping the shut­ter. Any set­tings you change, such as con­trast, or ef­fects you add such as ton­ing, will also be ap­plied so you can fine-tune the shot be­fore tak­ing it. With DSLRs the same ap­plies if you use Live View in­stead of the op­ti­cal viewfinder. This al­lows you to con­cen­trate on com­po­si­tion, pat­tern, tex­ture, shape and form (the es­sen­tial ingredients of a good black and white im­age) with­out the dis­trac­tion of colour.

3

You can take cre­ative risks

One of the great­est ben­e­fits of dig­i­tal cap­ture is that it gives you in­stant feed­back, so if you make a mis­take or don’t quite like a shot for any rea­son, you can re-shoot, and keep re-shoot­ing un­til you get it right. Shoot­ing in mono­chrome mode means the same ben­e­fits can be ap­plied to black and white im­ages. Know­ing what you’re get­ting means that you’re more in­clined to push your cre­ative bound­aries, think out­side the box and try some­thing new, dif­fer­ent or dar­ing that you might oth­er­wise avoid. Ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is the best way to learn, im­prove and pro­duce ex­cit­ing work.

4

Less time at the com­puter

Not all pho­tog­ra­phers like be­ing stuck be­hind a com­puter for hours con­vert­ing colour RAW files. Shoot­ing in-cam­era black and white solves that prob­lem in­stantly. It may not give you the level of con­trol you get from Pho­to­shop or Light­room, but cre­at­ing black and white im­ages on the spot al­lows you to make cre­ative de­ci­sions there and then, rather than days, weeks or months later when you’re emo­tion­ally re­moved from the sit­u­a­tion you were in when the shots were taken.

5

The best of both worlds

If you set your cam­era to cap­ture both RAW and JPEG files, then work in mono­chrome mode, you ef­fec­tively have the best of both worlds be­cause you’ll end up with a black and white JPEG, plus a colour RAW file. The JPEG can be used as a ref­er­ence im­age to show how you want the im­age to look, then you can con­vert the RAW file to black and white to pro­duce a sim­i­lar im­age but that’s higher qual­ity and more de­tailed.

AboveDOWN­WARD SPI­RAL SHOOT­ING THIS SPI­RALSTAIR­CASE IN BLACK AND WHITE HELPED TO FO­CUS AT­TEN­TION ON THE PAT­TERNS AND SHAPES IN THE SCENE, WITH­OUT COLOUR CAUS­ING ADIS­TRAC­TION

RightVENICE, ITALY IN FOGGY WEATHER, THE WORLD LOOKS BLACK AND WHITE – SO YOU MIGHT ASWELL SHOOT IT THAT WAY

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