Trying out black and white photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by G.T., Jul 22, 2012.

  1. G.T., Jul 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012

    G.T. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2008
    Hi all,

    Not posted in a while.

    I have started to gain a real liking for the look of B&W photographs. I think unless colour is there to add something it seems a pictures subject can be enhanced with less distraction. Now I just hope the subjects are strong enough.
    I removed a lot of images from my flickr which were from when I first started with my new camera because I thought they weren't any good anymore.

    Here are a few select images for you to comment on:


    I realise the way I've edited may not be to everyones liking and sorry for another criticism post, but we all learn from feedback.

    Feel free to browse some of the others on my account
  2. pakyooh macrumors 6502


    Jan 21, 2009
    Looks good G.T.

    I've been drawn to B&W lately too but only us it for personal photos. I like a little noise/grain in my photos too.

    The vignette works well for image 7 but a bit too much on 3 and 5.

    Unless you have a limited space in your flickr account, you should keep your old one. I look back once in a while to see how much my style has changed and hopefully improved.
  3. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    It's a little hard to find the subject on #1, but the others are fine.
  4. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    There is a very good strong contrast in #5 - I think BW is a very good choice for that big cat's pattern. The others though are somewhat more washed out, in my opinion. I can see how that could be the point of the #7 shot, but others, IMHO are yearning for a more daring look. You are right that a strong subject is even more important in BW photos, and I think you need to work a little more on that.
  5. Ollé macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2007
    #5 and #7 would be my picks from the series.

    #5 As some one else said, the contrast here is what kills it.
    #3 Has a nice noir feel to it and I love noir photos and comics and anything. I think the black and white is winning as it makes you focus on the building. Vignetting is just enough too - not to harsh, not too strong.

    And one other thing (just a personal opinion) don't ever delete photos no matter how crap you think they are, keep them so you can track your progress - see where you were and how you have improved along the way. :)
  6. Oracle1729 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2009
    Interesting pictures. You asked specifically about your new style, so I'll reply based on that.

    I don't get what style you're trying to show here. The pictures are all very different stylistically. Some are high contrast, some are low. Some are tight crops, some are broad, they're all very different compositional styles. Some try to show a subject, some try to show space.

    You also seem to have a big problem with your focus. Do you just leave the camera on a multi-point auto focus or do you actually tell the camera where the focus should be?
  7. G.T. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2008
    Thanks for the feedback, I do actually have the originals to compare to.

    Thanks :)

    Thanks for the feedback, I'll go back and see how much more I dare push contrasts. I think a problem I have is that I'm currently only using my mbp screen which aren't the most reliable. It's the glossy one and I calibrated using my eyes with the built in osx one to get rid of the yellow cast. I also selected a higher grammar which is more common in windows so it maybe while it looks OK on my screen I should really looking using others until I get a new monitor.

    Thanks I really like three too. It's funny you mention that, I wrote this blog post about my thoughts on most of these (the animal ones from the zoo). You can read it here if you want, it'll give you an insight on my thoughts about them

    Most of these were in manual, I've posted a link to a blog post just above which explains a lot more. About the title I should have thought more and just said "trying out black and white opinions please", sorry about not being clear.
  8. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    Jaguar one is easily the best. I'm not huge on B&W, but it's nice at times. I usually stick to B&W on urban shots and a rare portrait here and there.
  9. G.T. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2008
    Thanks :)
  10. someoldguy macrumors 68000

    Aug 2, 2009
    Here's my thoughts ...
    #2 ... Maybe lighten up the exposure a bit to see if a bit more detail could be brought up?
    #3 ... Nothing wrong with the quality of the image , just the panda gets lost . Tighter crop?
    #5&6 ... About as good as it gets , real nice crisp images .
    #7 ... Not sure what the subject is , but the vignetting works real well; plus there's another effect in the image that is intriguing , sorta like someone was playing with darkroom chemistry while developing the print ; except it's not a print . Shot through a window , maybe?
    #8 ... I like this one , its a really spare image that evokes that of a flower pressed between the pages of a book long ago and just rediscovered after decades on the shelf .

    How did you do the b&w conversion? If you used Photoshop/Elements did you play around with the color sliders at all?

    Anyway , just my 2 cents worth .... not sure if it even worth that much.
  11. G.T. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2008
    Thanks for the feed back. Number 7 was actually shot through a bus window, I'm amazed you could guess.
    I like 8 too, I think it almost has an x-ray feel too it.
    Well I edit all my RAW shots in PS RAW to bring the best out of each image. Then I will put the ones the need fine detail corrections in PS. I'll then put these in aperture. Any that I think are worth seeing in black and white I'll make a copy of the file while in aperture and edit in PS. For black and white I'll mess around with a load of techniques but generally the curve tool, contrast, and levels after I've desaturated it. I've messed around with the colour sliders a few time in B&W conversion but generally don't both.

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