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Thread: B&W photos? How do I pick?

  1. #1

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    B&W photos? How do I pick?

    Hi all. I'm going through some of my photos and trying to pick a few to convert into monochrome. How do I look at a color photo and decide what might be a good candidate for conversion? Are there things you guys look for? I'm having a hard time. I find myself picking ones, converting them, then deciding I don't like the b&w version.

    thanks!

    john

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: B&W photos? How do I pick?

    • Has it got a good range of tones (not colours)?
    • Are there good strong lines in it?
    • Is there a very clear main subject that's going to grab the attention as soon as the viewer looks at it?
    • Are there bold and defined shapes that are distinguishable from other bold and defined shapes?
    • Is there a range of good texture across the image?


    But the best thing of all is start capturing the photos knowing you are going to make them into B & Ws. That's when you start to 'see' in B & W.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: B&W photos? How do I pick?

    Hi John,

    B&W isn't for everyone, I rarely do it.

    I'd say look for image with high contrast scenes, bold shapes, etc. in.
    Perhaps with bold colours in too - these may help when converting because often when you convert, simply turning off the colour, or reducing saturation to zero isn't how to do it - you play with the colour channel gains as well.

    Shots that have lots of mid-tones and ones that are very 'busy' (lots of fine detail) are probably worth avoiding.

    Many say they shoot 'thinking' monochrome and it isn't something they can afterwards. However, if you haven't done that, I'm sure a look through your, or my, library would find some that work.

    Have a look through my Poeple album, there are some there, including a couple that have colour and mono versions. In fact I had a quick look through most other albums and it doesn't turn up any more!

    As I say, it isn't for everyone.

    Sometime the subject suggests a monochrome treatment; low light protrait, old steam engines, etc.

  4. #4
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: B&W photos? How do I pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    I'm going through some of my photos and trying to pick a few to convert into monochrome. How do I look at a color photo and decide what might be a good candidate for conversion?
    Viewing a Screen – using the lowest screen brightness and a strong ND filter
    Viewing a Print – view it in very low light levels.
    Viewing a Lighting Set – though an ND400 or stronger.

    A Deep Magenta Filter can be used also – and will be really cheap to find in (some) second hand camera stores.

    The ND filters do NOT have to be good quality.


    WW

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