Who shoots with monochrome display? Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Freida, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Freida macrumors 68000

    Oct 22, 2010
    Hello guys,

    would you mind sharing your workflow for shooting portraits or fashion photography, please?

    I was told to try switching my display to monochrome so I can focus better on the light and not get distracted by the colours. I've tested it briefly but I wanna explore it more but would love to hear opinions regarding this so I can maybe try it better from the start?

    What suggestions or tips do you guys have, please?

    I assume that having LCD monochrome might even help with exposure, right? (ie. I can see the issue better and adjust it better?)
  2. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    When checking exposure you shouldnt rely on the LCD. ALWAYS use the histogram. The LCD screen on your camera is not calibrated and its brightness adjusts depending on ambient light. The Nikon you have (are you enjoying it BTW?) is very good, but really there is no substitute for the histogram.


    I guess by using the mono LCD setting then you are able to look for tonality in your images. It is another tool to use.
  3. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Jan 17, 2008
    Solon, OH
    I do not do this, but......... I think you have to process an image with the final goal in mind. You might want the lighting to be very different for the same image in color vs. B/W.
  4. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Unless you're committed to final output in monochrome, this may have limited utility, and even then...

    If you're planning to shoot with traditional b&w filters (red, yellow, green, blue) to manage the contrast between shades of gray, then a monochrome display would be incredibly helpful. Similarly, if, as in the days of b&w movie production, the costumes and scenery are colored to reproduce/contrast well in b&w, this would be very useful.

    However, if the entire shoot is not produced with b&w in mind, I think this is of limited utility. A good color exposure is likely to produce the widest range of options for editing/post-production. There are far better controls available for producing monochrome from a color image in post than exist during the shoot.

    As someone who learned to shoot in the age of b&w (sure, we had color, I'm not 99 years old - initially it was mostly a matter of budget and the fact that school yearbooks and daily newspapers weren't yet using much color), I learned to shoot in terms of light and shadow, despite the color in the optical viewfinder. As I moved to color, that skill translated to shooting color with a light/shadow aesthetic (Ansel Adams fan that I was and still am). As a result, when I produce a monochrome version of one of my digital images today, everything seems to fall nicely into place (and I love being able to work with color channels in post, rather than filters over the lens, which I never mastered back in the day).

    Overall, however, the art of making a competent exposure depends on knowledge of the capabilities of the recording medium. We always have to compensate for the limitations of the recording medium. Since you're shooting with a color sensor, it makes some sense to shoot with those capabilities in mind. As mentioned, a histogram (especially a histogram that separates the red, green, and blue color channels) is likely to be a more powerful tool than killing the color display.
  5. Freida thread starter macrumors 68000

    Oct 22, 2010
    ok, I thought I would ask you here. I was at a workshop and one of the photographers (he was very good) showed it to me as he said that he was concerned about the light etc. and the colours only distract whereas the display in B&W keeps him better focused. I thought about it and think that it actually made sense so I wanted to get this out here and see what others think. I know how to read the instagram and I've also learnt that the display preview is not very accurate as it uses jpg previews which are usually lighter than the RAW so I do look at the histogram.
    I'll test this B&W just to see if it makes any difference to me personally. One thing I've learnt at the workshop was the fact that there are sooooo many things to keep in check that one can easily slip away and ruin the picture. I must admit that its actually very hard to make a great picture so I'm experimenting with things and ideas that can make it easier for me. :)
    Regardless, thank you for the input. I will keep exploring :)
  6. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

    Oct 2, 2007
    It's good advice and I do it from time to time myself. Histogram is all well and good, but it doesn't help when you're trying to study shadow play.
  7. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030


    Oct 29, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    What he said. ^

    I use it as an assisting tool when I shoot architectural and long exposures, for that very reason too.
  8. admwright macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2008
    Another thing to remember is that the histogram is derived from the jpeg not the raw data. So any in camera processing you have (WB, contrast, exposure comp) will affect the histogram.

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