B&W Photography

Started Jan 27, 2014 | Questions thread
jkjond Veteran Member • Posts: 8,422
Re: B&W Photography

Black and white is no more complicated than colour, if anything, it is simpler. At one extreme you could buy a very expensive Leica dedicated to black and white which would give you some of the sharpest images possible for the resolution, but you could equally go for any current dslr including the one in your hands, and achieve much the same at a print level, and no real disappointment when pixel peeping.

Here are some rambling thoughts.

I like black and white because its relatively easy to achieve what I want on a simple aesthetic level. Colour is not as forgiving when it comes to quality of light, so a demanding landscape photographer will have a very limited window of conditions to achieve what they want from a subject, unless they take pp to the extreme.

Black and white is still demanding of light, but most people will find the need for pp for the initial conversion will bring with it greater flexibility and opportunity for expression. In portraiture, black and white can make acceptable use of mixed light conditions which may appear wrong in colour due to confused white balance issue - yellow artificial light v blue daylight - which is a reason why some wedding photographers convert some indoor shots to black and white.

Or are you thinking of doing in-camera conversions?

I'm no fan of in-camera, but it is surprising how acceptable the results can be. It isn't something I've looked into, but I understand you can work to custom profiles to suit your subject and taste. Other easy conversion options are plugins such as silver effex pro as part of the nik software now provided by google. As with ALL one click solutions, the results can lack character - I far prefer the personal involvement with processing my own conversions. But they can also save a lot of clicking and need for knowledge.

One click solutions such as 'greyscale' or 'desaturation' in post processing will usually result in flat conversions which lack depth of shadows or highlights so usually require further tweaks and contrast boosts - but most progs have more sophisticated and flexible solutions which offer far more than conventional film + filter techniques.

If I were you, I'd experiment with what you have before committing to your second camera so you can appreciate your current potential. It may help you decide whether you need two different cameras to extend some capabilities, or stick with two identical cameras for ease of use and interchangeable cards and batteries.

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Wedding and fine art photographer based in the Lake District, UK

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