Had a go at B&W...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kreuzberg, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. kreuzberg macrumors member

    Apr 23, 2009
    Id always meant to try black and white so last week when I saw this place I finally gave it a go:







    I think they turned out quite well but what do you guys think? All C&C welcome :)
  2. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    The contrast here isn't bad, but the leading lines lead up to nothing, leaving the eye in the muddy vignette in the top left. Cropping the space at the top doesn't stop the eye from being drawn out of the frame, but does make the picture less annoying having ended up there.

    Muddy-looking overall, too low contrast, and no real subject. If the gravestone on the right's white surface were opened up 2/3rds or a stop or so, this would work better- but the vignetting is worse here.

    The central focus point is too far back and too dark compared to the marker on the left, which draws the eye but doesn't seem to have enough detail to hold the attention other than the scrollwork. This comes frustratingly close to working, but just misses out.

    Again, muddy-looking, not enough contrast- were these shot in midday light perhaps? Again the vignette totally kills it for me- lens issue or hood/filter problem?

    This had the most potential of them all, but the highlights don't really lead to a subject, or do much more than box the viewer in. If shot with a bit more of the leftmost marker in the frame and some light on it (say a remote flash) then this would work wonderfully. I'd reshoot.

    Sorry, I just don't see this one- there's not really a subject.
  3. kreuzberg thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 23, 2009
    Thanks compuwar, this is the kind of criticism i was looking for. I'll keep these points in mind when I try again
  4. Buschmaster macrumors 65816


    Feb 12, 2006
    I really like your pictures. The thing to remember is that black and white pictures are to be taken and thought of differently from color pictures. One time I took some black and white pictures and my friend told me he liked the contrast, and the lines.

    Now I always keep that in mind when taking black and white pictures.
  5. flosseR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2009
    the cold dark north
    I might not always agree with Compuwar, but in this case, spot on, exactly what I would have criticized. I'd like to add a few tips , in case you are interested.

    1. Vignetting works sometimes, but generally try to keep the picture clear, especially in B & W, simply because it wears the image down unless there is a very high contrast focus point.

    2. Contrast, Contrast, Contrast... in B & W you need to look for contrast. If you have a nice green and a nice blue and a nice red in the color image, in B & W is will just be dark grey, slightly different dark grey and a little bit more of dark grey. B & W needs black and white to work.

    3. B & W is an art and not something you learn over night, so whatever Compuwar mentioned, try shooting something else. That one "window" image that had potential, I would also reshoot it. If you do not have a remote flash, try a good other light source (one of those big flashlights with a good sized lamp). or, if that is out of the question a DYI reflector (Aluminum foil for example) that kicks the light on the gravestone just a little higher.

    Besides the criticism I would still say it was a good first attempt. But as with all things, time to keep at it and practicing.

    Actually an easy way to practice contrast shooting, to see in black and white so to speak, is to take a white and a black cardboard sheet (you can get at some office supply store for very little) and put various lighter subjects on it (white, yellow, red, green pens for example) and some variable darker subjects on the white cardboard. Shoot images and then convert them to B & W. Adjust curves and levels to see what effect it has on the photo in B &W.

    just my 2 c.

  6. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    as far as the b&w conversion, a lot of them have too much black. black-&-whites are all about lines, texture, and detail. there are times when high contrast works, but most of the time you want to preserve detail.

    in this case, i think you were shooting around mid-day and running into issues with backlit subjects, so the stones are just muddy. also, lay off the vignetting.
  7. Fiveos22 macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2003
    I've always been a sucker for textures, so I happen to like #6 the most, although it is too dark.

    I'm no photographer so I tend to think of things backwards (as in photoshop potential first) and I think a modest bit of work could make #6 (and some of the others) quite nice... but I've been told that's akin cheating.
  8. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    If you really want to get into digital B&W photography, you should check out Nik Silver Efex. It's pretty sweet... has a lot of profiles for different types of B&W films and makes your photos look like you took them with a B&W film camera

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