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How to shoot in Black and White?

Monochrome photographs are timeless, especially black and white ones. They have emotional properties of making the subject look more artistic. If you want black and white shots, but don't want to compromise your colour shots, you can always shoot in colour and then experiment with the photo in your editing software afterwards.

I am going to assume two things: that you have access to Photoshop, Photo Impact, Photo Studio or some other image editing software and that you either can't or don't want to shoot in RAW format.
Any of these will do a better job at converting your colour image to black and white digital photography than your camera can.

Some cameras include a black and white mode, but you’ll get better results by forgoing a special mode and actually taking the shot in colour.
Raw is the most powerful file format for digital cameras (which saves photos in uncompressed format, unlike the smaller JPG format) , but raw files are very large and tend to require special software to edit. If you are comfortable with it, raw offers much more versatility and control over your photography, including the ability to shoot in black and white but retain all the colour information in the file.

Shoot in raw to capture maximum tonal and detail information. The raw file will include more data than a JPEG, and will give you complete control over sharpening, contrast and white balance adjustments etc.
However, most users shoot in JPEG format, which is more universally known.
For black and white photography, use the lowest ISO. When you use high ISO the noise will become more obvious. Noise in photography is like “grain” seen in conventional film. The higher your ISO is, the more unpleasant dots will show in your final image.
Converting an image into black and white is pretty simple, but if you want truly impressive results it pays to think about how and what you shoot, and learn how to use your editing software’s powerful tools to get the most from your shots. One of the fundamental aspects of black and white photography is that your whole composition relies on contrast. For this reason, look out for subjects that feature simple, strong lines and shapes. It’s often the shadows that define shape and form, so pay attention to areas of darkness, as well as light.


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How to Shoot in Black & White. (See left)

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How to shoot in Black and White: continued.

Black and white photos actually include a whole range of greys, which add subtlety to your images. Normally, you look for subjects that will translate into a range of tones from black to white, but you can also get great results where the subject is mostly light (high-key) or dark (low-key).
Black and white also works nicely for portrait photography. Skin tones, in black and white, are mellowed; blotches, blemishes, and uneven shading is less easily noticed than it is in colour photos. Our eyes are very critical of facial skin tones in colour but, when we examine black and white, we cannot evaluate the tones with the same critical eye.

Setting-up your Shot
With your lighting and camera settings adjusted, the hard work is done. The same rules that apply to colour photography will guide you toward great black and white shots. That said, you can optimize for black and white by paying attention to a few specific details in the frame. Here are some of the key things to look for when you’re setting up for a black and white photo.
Shadows and Lines. Fine detail, or strong textures such as weather-beaten stone, foliage or clouds, can help to give your black-and-white shots depth and interest. Strong side lighting is perfect for bringing out the texture in any subject. You can use strong natural light, or get creative with flash to create side lighting on your subject. Black-and-white images need strong compositions to really work. Keep an eye out for strong lines or features in your scene that can be used as lead-in lines, or positioned diagonally across the frame to create dynamic images.
Smoke and Clouds. Whether big and puffy or light and wispy, clouds always look fantastic in black and white. Smoke from a fire or chimney stack, looks equally striking.
Water. The ripples and waves of any body of water turn a typical seascape into something almost abstract.
People. Black and white adds interest and subtlety to a face, with wrinkles and scars taking on a measure of drama and poetry. Subjects with less-weathered visages come across as even more striking and beautiful.
A final thought, shooting your pictures in B&W will not only produce beautiful images; it is also a relaxing way to spend your time!
We hope you found our guide useful - Good luck.
 

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