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digital photography
black and white photography
lighting styles
initial results
new images
Black And White Digital Photography
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Black And White Digital Photography

In The Beginning

It all started with black and white photography. Since the first permanent photograph was created in 1822 by Niepce, the art form has evolved into a brand new animal. Digital photography, paired with Photoshop, allows us to not only document the world around us - but to create completely new images from our imagination.

Back To The Basics

While these new tools may be fantastic, there is no reason to abandon the old classic. Black and white photography forces us to concentrate on key elements like composition and lighting. It forces you to refine your skill. When done properly, a black and white image can create the same - or more- impact as any color image.

Color to Black and White

I prefer to photograph in RAW mode, so I have the color information - just in case. It gives me a lot more options when I convert it to black and white (more on that later). Since your LCD preview will likely be in color, you have to train yourself to look past the color and concentrate on the shape and design.

Experiment

The best feature of digital photography is unlimted frames - so go for it. You have my permission to Over-Shoot! Try new angles or lighting styles. Some will end up looking great, many will probably be duds. That's ok. The point is to experiment with your photography and find new ways of doing things. Don't be discouraged if your initial results are ho-hum. Find the parts you DO like and build on them.

Study

Take time to study the masters like Weston and Adams. They took black and white photography to a whole new place and can be a great inspirational resource. When you study an image - try to answer these questions:

1. What was the light source?

2. Where was the light coming from?

3. What kind of lens was used - wide-angle, telephoto, etc?

4. Where are the elements arranged in the frame?

5. How could the shot have been done differently?

In other words, don't just look at the image. Break it apart and look at the pieces. It is the fastest way to understand the "what" and "why" of the technique.

Convert

Converting a color image to black and white in Photoshop can be done in many, many different ways. No matter what anyone tells you, there isn't a "best" way. The best method will vary depending on the image. Learn as many different conversion techniques as you can and give them all a try. The more tools you have in your toolbox, the better.

Get Inspired

I hope you will give black and white photography a try and let it inspire you to take your photography to a new place. By continuing to grow as an artist, you will ensure that your photography always stays fresh and interesting.


Street Talk

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