- Creative Black and White: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques
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- Black and White Digital Photography Photo Workshop
There are a lot of clichés on the web about black and white photography, and while some of them are absolute nonsense, it's fair to admit that some are actually true. Black and white has had a constant presence in the world of photography and no matter how much technology has changed, it is just as powerful as it was when no color was available.
Some photographers work entirely in black and white while others only use it for certain subjects. Beginners might have a hard time figuring out when eliminating color is the best option, so we're here to help.
First of all, let's start with how you shouldn't use black and white. A lot of beginners convert their photos in an attempt to make them more interesting. Let's get one thing clear: if a photo is boring, it will remain boring no matter what you do to it. Converting it to black and white won't help and it will make look like the kind of amateur who isn't really learning anything.
The idea of taking out color has to have a clear goal behind it. It's often a will to give a more powerful meaning to whatever is photographed. As soon as you remove color, the viewer naturally focuses on other aspects like details, connections and meanings.
From a technical point of view, most photos that look good in color will continue to look good once you convert them. But it's very important to remember that simply making the conversion doesn't mean your work is done. You have to make specific adjustments if you want the image to look its best. Back in the old days, dodging and burning were literally done manually, using hands. It's a lot easier now and black and white photography is excellent for lighting up some areas and darkening others.
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Lighting is also very important if you want to shoot with no colors. Surprisingly, dull and unflattering light works best for black and white photography, not because of how it looks initially but rather because it gives you a lot more to work with in post processing.
Here is photographer Serge Ramelli with a great tutorial about converting color photos to black and white.