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What do you look for in Black and white photography?


TonyCoridan 1 137 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 8:38AM
Hi fellow photographers,

What do you look for in a black and white photograph?

1. What makes it interesting?
2. how do you know if an optimal tonal rage has been achieved?
3. Example : is this a good black and white photograph?
4. what is the difference between: duo tone, monochrome and grey scale photography?

Kind regards,

Tony

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cats_123 e2
10 4.2k 25 Northern Ireland
3 Mar 2013 9:30AM
Welcome to epz Tony....spotted this shot earlier on...(to me) makes a perfect subject for mono.

Not sure I have the technical expertise to answer your questions but you might like to join in the ` Mono enthusiasts group ' and/or the ` Black & White Photography ' group. There is also a weekly B&W challenge .
As you can see I don't think we have reached a consensus ourselves SmileSmile

You might also like upload your shots for `constructive critique'.
SmileSmile

jeff
TonyCoridan 1 137 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 9:33AM

Quote:Welcome to epz Tony....spotted this shot earlier on...(to me) makes a perfect subject for mono.

Not sure I have the technical expertise to answer your questions but you might like to join in the `Mono enthusiasts group' and/or the `Black & White Photography' group. There is also a weekly B&W challenge.
As you can see I don't think we have reached a consensus ourselves SmileSmile

You might also like upload your shots for `constructive critique'.
SmileSmile

jeff



Thanks
ErictheViking e2
2 124 102 Scotland
3 Mar 2013 9:54AM
Well Tony for me monochrome, grey scale and black & white are pretty much the same thing a picture devoid of natural colour that displays an image using shapes and tones to define it.

2. I always use an editor with my images both colour and B+W, in the editor I begin by using the levels layer / adjustment.
This adjustment has a histogram and 3 sliders the left (Black) adjusts shadows, the middle (Grey) adjusts mid-tones and the right (White) adjusts highlights. You starting point should always have these sliders touching the histogram at its edges and the mid tone slider reading 1.00.

From here move the sliders to achieve the image you want to get black increases / decreases the black in the shadows, grey will increase / decrease greys in the mid-tone area and white increases /decreases the amount of white in the highlights.

This is a very simplistic description, unfortunately optimal is a personal thing so there is no answer to where these adjustments go. I would suggest looking at photographs especially from the 1930's - 1960's and see how photographers then used tone in their images. From their pick the style you like and try to replicate this in your work.

3. I've made a comment on your example image, for me it is a good B+W, however for others it may have faults both technically and compositionally. remember you are unlikely to please everybody and B+W looses what I call the ahhhh vote due to stunning colours.

4. For reference duo-tone uses 2 colours other than B+W to define the image. When looking at images from the past look for Ambrotype images these tend to be Blackish with yellow / amber tones.

I hope this helps a bit and I'm sure others will give more good advice. Please PM me if you want to discuss this further, 2 people you could look at for reference are Ansel Adams and Bill Brandt also look at the work of Dorothea Lange for documentary photography.

Eric Grin
TonyCoridan 1 137 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 10:28AM

Quote:Well Tony for me monochrome, grey scale and black & white are pretty much the same thing a picture devoid of natural colour that displays an image using shapes and tones to define it.

2. I always use an editor with my images both colour and B+W, in the editor I begin by using the levels layer / adjustment.
This adjustment has a histogram and 3 sliders the left (Black) adjusts shadows, the middle (Grey) adjusts mid-tones and the right (White) adjusts highlights. You starting point should always have these sliders touching the histogram at its edges and the mid tone slider reading 1.00.

From here move the sliders to achieve the image you want to get black increases / decreases the black in the shadows, grey will increase / decrease greys in the mid-tone area and white increases /decreases the amount of white in the highlights.

This is a very simplistic description, unfortunately optimal is a personal thing so there is no answer to where these adjustments go. I would suggest looking at photographs especially from the 1930's - 1960's and see how photographers then used tone in their images. From their pick the style you like and try to replicate this in your work.

3. I've made a comment on your example image, for me it is a good B+W, however for others it may have faults both technically and compositionally. remember you are unlikely to please everybody and B+W looses what I call the ahhhh vote due to stunning colours.

4. For reference duo-tone uses 2 colours other than B+W to define the image. When looking at images from the past look for Ambrotype images these tend to be Blackish with yellow / amber tones.

I hope this helps a bit and I'm sure others will give more good advice. Please PM me if you want to discuss this further, 2 people you could look at for reference are Ansel Adams and Bill Brandt also look at the work of Dorothea Lange for documentary photography.

Eric Grin



Thank you a lot!
widtink 2 406 2 Scotland
3 Mar 2013 10:32AM
Drama makes a good B/W image its as simple as that Smile Oh yeah and contrast and composition which are all a part of the drama of the image. If you like a particular image , thats all that really matters in the end Grin Enjoy your photography is my mantra Grin

PS good advice from Eric

Rod

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