Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Black and White Photo Tips

I have been trying to read about black and white photography tips and tricks because this is all a learning process for me as well. 

1. You might be surprised to learn that you should shoot in color even if your camera has a black and white function because photo editing software can do a much better job at the conversion, and you’ll have more flexibility on the output of the final image.

Everyone will have and use different editing programs.  Some free ones that have been discussed are Picasa and Picnik, however, Picnik has an upgrade for $25 I think. 

Experiment and see what you come up with using your editor.  I had an example to show you in Picasa. I took this photo this summer in New Mexico. 


Using Picasa I chose the black and white function.


If I use the tuning and move the light bar I get a lighter black and white.


Next I moved the highlight bar a bit.


And then the shadows bar.


I can also move the temperature bar to the right to get a black and white sepia effect.


Practice and you will learn.  Share the tips you discover so we can all learn. 

2. I read that contrast makes black and white photos more interesting.  If you pick out scenes that naturally show signs of high contrast then your black and white photos will be more interesting from the start.

3. Texture is another form of contrast.  Black and white can really help textures stand out because you take away the distraction of color. 

4. If you have a digital camera you should shoot in low ISO if possible.  High ISO can add noise to your photo which is more obvious in black and white.

5. I never knew that a great time to take outdoor black an white photos are on dark and gloomy days when there is an overcast.  Hmmm?  Maybe someone will be able to try this.

6. Composition (which we will learn more about in the future) is important in black and white because you’re unable to use color to lead the eye into or around your shot. This means you need to train yourself to look at shapes, tones and textures in your frame as points of interest. Pay particularly attention to shadows and highlights which will become a feature of your shot.

I am sure there is a ton more of info out there.  Because I am a beginner I am limited in my knowledge, but I believe in the power of practice and I think these parties encourage us all to pick up our camera and try new things. 

I love black and white photography because it is dramatic and looks more like art. 

I borrowed some friends and family photos from Facebook and did some black and white editing to show the power of black and white.  These photos were taken with point and shoot cameras and not by me.  Like I said I borrowed them. 

This is my best friend Becky.  I think she is beautiful.  She used this profile pic on Facebook and got a few comments about it a while back. 

I played with it in my Photoshop elements and used a free black and white action from the Coffee Shop Blog to create a dramatic photo.  I also blurred up the background and gave it a little frame.


She posted this pic on her Facebook last night as her profile and has 21 comments on it ranting and raving how great and young she looks.  Oh the power of black and white. Smile

Next my little sister took a photo of her 2 year old and new born holding hands.  The 2 yr old must be into crafts like me.  She has blue fingers.  Right now mine are black from paint.

I cropped the photo and turned it into a black and white with a vignette around it.  Looks way different.

hands copy

So start practicing and get your posts ready for the party on Tuesday, March the 1st. 

The link will open Monday at 6pm central time.  I didn’t get a lot of response on the voting so for now the only rules for voting will be one vote per person and no anonymous votes.

Ok this post is getting way to long so I am going to wrap it up. 

I hope you join the fun next week!




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