Question for the pro's about black and white photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hardliner, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. hardliner macrumors member


    Aug 20, 2006
    Old Europe
    My very dear friends on this board,

    I just get myself a Fujifilm Finepix S5800 and found now a new hobby – Photography. I am very excited and have a question about b&w-pics.

    I am a huge fan of shooting black and white pictures. What do you think? Shall I shoot the pics in color and edit them then in Aperture into converting black and white? Or shall I put the settings on my camera in black and white already?

    What are pros doing?

    I am very exciting. I want to publish a website with MobileMe showing my pictures. Also some in FlickR. It is a very nice experience.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jhamerphoto macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2007
    Definitely shoot in colour, as each colour channel has it's own b&w profile. You can then mix those profiles to make scenes more dramatic (enhanced blue/green channel) or make photos more flattering for people (enhanced red channel).

    Look up some tutorials on black and white conversion, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

    Best of luck
  3. bocomo macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    New York
    another vote for shoot color-convert after

    much more flexible
  4. hardliner thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 20, 2006
    Old Europe
    Incredible. Posted, and after 9 minutes you get and nice and helpful answer. Something very rare in Germany for example, where you get hate answers or tipps to search on Google. This is why I like the good ol' US.

    So, I got it. So always shoot in color mode. And then editing Aperture or even Photoshop.

    Could you provide me a link for those tutorials? I mean, one you have? Because there are gazillions out there, and I am very interested in links from enthusiastic photographers.

    Again, thank you very much.
  5. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    Unless you're shooting film (where the right b&w film and processing can make a huge difference in overall look) I agree with the previous posters - shoot in color, convert later where you can affect the tones a lot better than the digital camera alone can.

    I used to even shoot color neg film, scan in color and convert to grayscale in photoshop when necessary, and it worked okay there too. The more digital information you start with the better.
  6. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    I had never given much attention to B&W photography, since I am not fond of it particularly.

    I remember one day reading this article:

    And have just saw this video from Apple also:

    The video is for Aperture 1.5, but the basics are still the same, so you would find it useful.

    Just practice and move everything in the editing options. It is the only way to really learn something. Grab 100 photos and convert all of them to B&W and see which you like the best. Then see what you did to that photo.:)
  7. jhamerphoto macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2007
    Canada, thanks :D

    Well I don't have any tutorials bookmarked or anything, but here's an Adobe tutorial. Sorry about the lack of pics, Adobe should work on that...
    Channel Mixing
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You will have more control over the effect if you do the conversion later in Aperture. There are many ways to do the conversion, in Aperture you get the chance to try a few and keep what you like. Two things you might want to change:

    1) The contribution of each of the tree color channels. This is like putting on a yellow or red or green filter on the camera when shooting with black and white film. Now you can shoot with no filter but have the effect if you like with post processing

    2) Toning. Most black and white prints done in a darkroom are not actually 100% black and white. They might have some blue and brown tone either in the "black" or in the "white" paper. you can do this in post processing too.
  9. NeXTCube macrumors member

    May 14, 2002
    Upstate NY
    Would it be appropriate... bring up Alien Skin's Exposure? :)

    Actually, I've never used it, but seen it advertised here and there. It seems a bit like cheating! :) It may also be outside the interest of the original poster...
  10. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I don't have a tutorial, but I'll use the following settings from time to time:
    Editing your shadow/highlight detail (which by the way is a very underrated feature people often ignore):
    Shadows: 40%
    Tonal width: 6%
    Radius: 30px

    Highlights: 70-75%
    Tonal Width: 30%
    Radius: 60px

    Color correction: +25
    Midtone contrast: 0-5

    Black & White Clip: 0.01% (read this somewhere but dunno what it does much)

    Then under "Black and White"
    Reds: 60% (I loved using the red filter in film so I like my reds)
    Yellows: 60%
    Greens: 45%
    Cyans: 60%
    Blues: 20-25%
    Magentas: 80%

    You can try something along those lines but your mileage may very.

    Personally what I love about digital more than film is I can shoot in color and still have black and white. To date, I cannot totally replace film for digital. I haven't been able to process in pyro developer and make darkroom prints in ages, but digital is a nice little 2nd to this and still tolerable.

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