- June 11, 2019 at 1:49 am #410412
Am i choosing better photos with more tones and contrast that work for b&w?
right click and open in new tab to see better details of the dragonfly.
- June 11, 2019 at 7:32 am #410448
Hello Dorothy, I'm not sure if you wanted this dragonfly to be the main subject of your image. If you did, I would say that the background looks a bit too distracting. Maybe a more shallow depth of field would be helpful in this case.
- June 11, 2019 at 10:04 am #410462
I'm going to address this question, “Am i choosing better photos (you're talking about your choice of subject really) with more tones and contrast that work for b&w?”
It seems to me that you're having trouble ‘seeing' in black and white.
The tones are too disorganized to allow the viewer to adequately find your subject.
This is common for photographers new to black and white- we see in color.
May I suggest you consider investing in one of these: it is a black and white viewing filter.
When you are anticipating a black and white shot, view the scene through this filter.
It eliminates all color and you see the scene – in only tones- from light to dark.
It's a great training tool to help your force your mind to exclude the effects of color and only see in shades of tone.
I used one of these for years when I first started in photography. My high school photography teacher had an extra one and he gave it to me.
I haven't tried this… but I bet it would work just as well to view an existing color photograph. At least to give to give you an idea what it might look like.
- June 11, 2019 at 4:20 pm #410502
Thanks Kent, that is exactly what i was asking and thank you for the link. ‘seeing' in black and white is what i am wanting to improve.
- June 12, 2019 at 1:15 pm #410614
Dorthy, I think your subject needs to stand out more. Any chance you could show us the color version?
I tried to get a BW filter like Kent mentioned but couldn't get one here in Mexico so I ended up getting an app for my phone that turns it into a BW camera which works good and I don't need to remember to pack a filter as I always have my phone with me. Another way to get a bit more of a feel for BW is to only shoot BW for a week or a month to force yourself to think in BW. It's good to use a viewfinder that is BW instead of seeing the compo. in color in the viewfinder and converting in post.
- June 12, 2019 at 7:35 pm #410667
Lenny @el-dub: Thanks. Sure i can include the color version.
I was looking into a b&w filter and Tiffin's seems to be what comes up through Google with most places having it run $44 to $45 (although Amazon, who i usually buy quite a bit through, ran quite a bit higher) and even though that is not a lot i liked the idea of having an app that could work like a filter and show a scene in b&w (free) but everything i have seen so far either only works with photos and has no camera function or if it has the camera function it takes the shot in color then can change to b&w. could you use the app to see the scene in b&w or did you have to take the shot first and what app did you end up getting? –
this is the color
- June 12, 2019 at 11:05 pm #410721
i had a hard time figuring out what i was looking at in the b&w version. it all makes sense in the color version.
the b&w shot needs more tonal variation. in your black and white image you have a few blacks, fewer whites and lots of midtone grey that just blends together. take a look at ansel adams zone system and see how that lines up with the tones in your images.
what's your editing process for making b&w images? for mine i start with a raw image and edit it as normal. instead of hitting the b&w or greyscale button i'll set the saturation to -100 (in lightroom, but should work in any raw editor) and then play with the white balance until i get the tones i want. then i might make small adjustments to contrast and tones. it sounds weird, but it really does work to separate tones.
- June 12, 2019 at 11:08 pm #410722
forgot to mention.. a good image would work well in color or in b&w. some images lend themselves better to one than the other, but you need to start with a good image. i'm not saying this is a bad image, i'm just saying you don't need to learn to see in b&w unless you plan on working in b&w exclusively. just make good images and the b&w will come naturally.
- June 13, 2019 at 1:31 am #410739
Hi there Dorothy, the only possible way to make that dragonfly pop is by making it bright and making all the green tones dark. Due to the distance and framing it is quite hard to work around properly. Maybe a closer shot would be more well suited for some further development. Do you happen to have any?
- June 13, 2019 at 11:35 am #410794
My first choice is usually BW but after seeing the color shot I think it really draws the eye to and shows off the dragonfly and should be in color. You gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.
The app I have is “BlackCam Pro”. No, you don't have to make a photo. The screen shows whatever you point the lens at. It's Android from the Google play store. A Friend has something similar for her iphone. Try searching for “black and white camera”.
Your right, it's best to see the BW when composing the shot. I'm sure you know it but you might check your camera out… I can see real time BW on my Canon DSLR in live view or I have another camera with an electronic viewfinder that shows monotone and has 3 different styles of grainy BW before shooting.
- June 13, 2019 at 9:17 pm #410841
Lenny: Thank you, i did find BlackCam and BlackCam Pro – and am happy to say BlackCam works just fine for what i need. my Canon will show me b&w in live view but i have to be set to take monochrome photo and i prefer to take color then convert to b&w so the BlackCam app will probably be my best choice for now, it should help me get used to seeing if everything is in grey tones or if there is the contrast i am looking for.
i think this particular photo will remain in color. 🙂
- June 13, 2019 at 9:27 pm #410842
Dorothy, check your histogram in this image. Look first at histogram in the color image. Then click on the gradient Map adjustment, (second from the bottom of the choices) and click on the black and white gradient map. This is a nice way to convert an image to B&W. Look at the histogram for the B&W image. . You will find a spike on the dark edge (left), nothing near the right edge (whites). The mid-tones are low and show almost zero contrast. If there was good contrast in the mid-tones, there would be a mountain shape in the middle. Using a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, playing with the contrast and brightness slider is hard to produce a better histogram for a successful black and white, ie lots of contrast in tones. Use the histogram to help judge for B&W conversions.
I have tried using the B+W conversion lens or eyepiece. Because it does not take out all the color, leaving a color cast, I find it difficult to use. In other words, I have not yet gotten the hang of it, so tend not to use it. I like checking the histogram that shows up in the camera. If the histogram is close to or even touching the edges, you will have both good blacks and whites to work with. You can get the histogram closer to the edges by playing with exposure compensations. It will be easier to bring up whites or darken the blacks in the conversions. (This makes it nice when playing with effects in skies.)
PS I, too, am a beginner in judging what will make effective B&Ws!
- June 13, 2019 at 9:39 pm #410843
Thanks Frank: Good tip on the Gradient Map, i will definitely check it out. it is one of the thousands of things in PS that i never even thought of using. :-0 i will let you know how the BlackCam app works and if it helps.
- June 13, 2019 at 9:50 pm #410844
- June 13, 2019 at 10:00 pm #410845
Here is another option: Use the regular B&W adjustment layer to get your conversion. But, in PS click on the color layer, then goto Filter and select Camera Raw Filter to get you back into ACR. Goto the Curves icon in Basic (second from left) select parametric, not point. Then play with the brightness, highlight, shadow sliders etc. . Return to the layers in PS. Now click on the circle icon to the left of the B&W white mask and a group of color sliders shows up. Look what happens when you move the red (effects the dragon fly) Then the yellow (effects the flowers). Then the cyan (effects the water lower left). This seems to bring out some contrast in the “color” of the B&W. This helped the Dragon fly show up a bit more.
- June 13, 2019 at 10:09 pm #410846
Another way to play with the Luminosity of the colors in B&W conversions without changing the color: After using the B&W conversion adjustment layer, select the Luminosity Mode. (Click on the mode that says normal to get the choices and Luminosity is near or at the bottom of the list). The color sliders show up, and moving them changes the luminosity of the colors. Then just return to the Normal mode to get back to the B&W.
- June 15, 2019 at 9:27 pm #411030
Frank: Thank you for all the conversion tips. i am trying them all. 🙂
- June 14, 2019 at 3:53 pm #410924
So Dorothy, I'm curious why you chose this photo, a lot has been said about black and white conversion , and this is the shark tank however and I'm wondering now that you have been posting here a while and using what you have learned so far, how you yourself would critique this photo based on composition and isolation of a subject matter. Is it something that holds the viewers interest and isn't too busy or cluttered with a clear focal point ? Does it infer some kind of a story to grasp the viewers attention? I kind of refer back to Jasenka's first comment and am asking do you personally feel that this photo carries enough weight to be considered in black and white or color for that matter and what you think could have been done to improve the shot ?
Maybe in comparison to this shot , which I think could work in black in white quite nicely.
- June 15, 2019 at 9:39 pm #411031
Robert @robertapple: Point taken. i have to admit it is difficult to critique one's own work. i see my vision and not necessarily what is actually in front of my eyes. (just a note, i think, i hope you meant to say i have been posting here) first thing i see is it is too light all the way across the scene, there is too much clutter i would suggest removing the reed pipe in the water and the big metal looking stand on the right of the scene. then i would crop. following would be an example, which even though i think this probably would best remain in color is hopefully more along the line of what the photographer is looking for.
- June 18, 2019 at 12:12 am #411324
Yes Dorothy I did mean posting, not posing. Damn typos 😠, anyhow I think you understand where I was going with it. Probably not the best photo from an visual stand point so even the best black and white conversion won't get you there, You have however posted some other very nice shots that I think could work well with black and white. I used to try to save every photo I took, now I delete quite a few, thank God it's not film, I couldn't afford it.
- June 18, 2019 at 12:43 am #411326
Robert: film cost and processing costs were what made me originally fall in love with digital and then when i started learning how to use my digital darkroom i was hooked. just not having a drawer full of undeveloped rolls of film that i had no idea what was on them was such a relief! eventually developed them all and have not turned back. 🙂
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