Ep 110 How to take awesome black and white photos

Have you heard? Black and white is the new black. Although it’s always been represented in classic and iconic shots, it seems that black and white is now hip again.

In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss how to “see” in black and white, why you need to understand the colour wheel for best results, whether you should shoot in black and white or convert in post-production, how B&W can enhance and transforms some shots from meh to amazing, and much more.

Hope you enjoy the podcast.

#ginachallenge #blackandwhite

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show notes

Useful Links

Quote

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!”― Ted Grant
What’s so good about it?

  • Timeless
  • Black and white takes away the distractions of colour and forces the viewer to focus on light, form, texture, contrast
  • Black and white strips away distracting details e.g street scene of people the focus is on the colourful closes or women wearing a bright pink tracksuit.
  • Sexy

How to see in black and white
Before you can understand black and White you need to understand colour. Check out the colour wheels.

  • Red, magenta and green look very similar in black and white
  • Yellow and light blue do too
  • Light green and blue look identical as do green and red
  • An image can “pop” in colour and once converted to black and white the contrast is lost.
Image by Gina Milicia
Image by Gina Milicia

Contrasting colours like red and green look amazing in colour but once converted to BW the image loses contrast

Image by Gina Milicia

 

Image by Gina Milicia

Contrasting colours like blue and yellow look amazing in colour but once converted to BW the image loses impact

Is the colour of light important to setting the mood of an image?

Sunset

Warm light

Image by Gina Milicia

 

Image by Gina Milicia
Image by Gina Milicia

Exercise:

For images on your smartphone: convert camera to black and white and spend a day seeing in black and white.

Digital camera Switch to Raw and Full-size Jpeg and convert camera settings to BW.

  • The camera will only convert jpegs to BW.
  • Raw files will be in colour

What are the best subjects for black and white photography?

Easy subjects for black and white photography

Images that are high contrast and lack colour will look awesome in black and white

BW image of zebra crossing with woman wearing black. Image by Gina Milicia

 

Colour image of zebra crossing with woman wearing black. Image by Gina Milicia
Colour image of birds in flight. Image by Gina Milicia.
BW image of birds in flight. Image by Gina Milicia.

Light and shadows

Iphone image taken in London looks bland in colour. Image by Gina Milicia.

 

Iphone image converted to BW. Image by Gina Milicia.

Contrast

Patterns

 

Image by Gina Milicia
Image by Gina Milicia

Texture

Image by Gina Milicia.
Image by Gina Milicia.
Image by Gina Milicia.
Image by Gina Milicia.
Image by Gina Milicia.
Image by Gina Milicia.
Image by Gina Milicia.

Image by Gina Milicia.

Long Exposures

Image by Gina Milicia.
Image by Gina Milicia
Image by Gina Milicia

Exercise

Find 20 of your favourite images and convert them to BW using LR or snapseed of conversion software of your choice

Use of filters on Camera

Polarizer or Neutral grad filter to darken skies

Post-production

Burn Dodge ( adjustment brush in LR) or Photoshop

Filters in lightroom

RAW File. Image by Gina Milicia.
BW Conversion. Image by Gina Milicia.
Image adjusted using colour sliders in LRCC and clarity slider in the develop module. Image by Gina Milicia.

Masters of Black and White

Ansel Adams

Moonrise over Hernandez by Ansel Adams

Robert Mapplethorpe

Calla Lily, 1984 by Robert Mapplethorpe

Herb Ritts

#ginachallenge #blackandwhite

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