Seeing in Black and White

In one of my previous articles I wrote about shooting with intention for B&W (tip number 6), and not merely looking at your photos and trying to convert them to B&W to see if that looks good. Now I would like to add the concept “seeing in black and white”. It comes to you when you shoot a lot of b&w images – you then gain the ability to look at your composition and in your mind see how it would look in b&w. Sometimes, the weather is such that you don’t need this ability – the colors are simply black (dark gray) and white (light gray), but on other occasions the sky may be blue with white clouds and everything around you so colorful that imagining how it would look in b&w would be difficult. This is when the “seeing in black and white” skill comes handy.

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Sometimes the scene itself calls for b&w, as it was with this garden statue. This woman was standing in this garden for a long time and her skin turned from pearl white to muddy gray, the same happened to the color of the fence, and in any case the emphasis here is not on the color.

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Black and white in photography often helps to convey mood, and emphasize shapes and textures.

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Here is another example of emphasizing shapes by shooting in black ans white.

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Did I mention mood already? I just love it when the sky looks like it is going to rain any minute, and light is dim. These minutes before the rain are great for capturing photos such as this one. I wish there would be a bird sitting on the hanger at the foreground though…

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I hope you liked the photographs, and I’ll see you next time!

As always your comments, thoughts, and experiences are highly appreciated.

Cheers,
Greg.

2 thoughts on “Seeing in Black and White

  1. Hi Greg,
    I’ve always loved b&w. They are dramatic but still reveal the subject in a more pure light (my opinion). The storm is a fantastic shot. Wonderful sense of movement in the sky. Is that sooc? It looks almost HDR.
    Good idea for an assignment.
    Thanks, Citymom

  2. Thanks Ellen, the shot you are talking about is actually a pseudo HDR. I shot it in RAW (as I always do) exposing for the sky, and then in Lightroom I lightened the foreground. I also usually add more clarity to the sky.

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