I live in a world of color and it’s hard for me to imagine any other kind. Heck, I can’t even image being color blind (although, it would help explain a few things on the clothing front ). The thing is…..when I’m out photographing the world around me, all I can think about is black and white. I mean… I’m constantly saying to myself would this make a good black and white? There are some images that just lend themselves to a strong b/w. I try to look for images that have good tone, contrast and of course good lighting. I always recommend shooting in raw so that you get the best of both worlds (e.g. color and b/w) . If you shoot in jpeg do the b/w conversion with software versus in camera, so that you don’t lose the color image. Years ago I remember buying books and reading a ton about digital b/w conversion but today it’s much easier. Lightroom and Aperture have built in b/w presets that can do the trick with a few clicks. However, my favorite application for b/w conversion hands down is Niksoftware’s Silver Efex Pro. Silver Efex truly has changed the way that I make a b/w. The plug-in works in Lightroom, Aperture or Photoshop and is super easy to use. You simply open you photo into Silver Efex and either pick from several presets, or create your own look. If you’re like me and you see world in color, but love making b/w images, then it’s a no brainer. Niksoftware allows you to download the plug-in and try it out for 15 days at no charge, so check it out HERE. When was the last time you made a killer b/w in 5 min?
Today's image is the raw file I used to create yesterday’s image “Pensive.” If you missed yesterday’s post — “Pensive” – Making of the Image — then I suggest checking it out so you can see the very simple lighting technique we used to create the image.
Moving forward… I shoot all my files in RAW and then convert them to DNG in Lightroom. Once this conversion is done I begin to evaluate the images.
The very first thing I do when working with an image is consider the crop. I try to frame things as well as possible “in camera”, but the dirty little secret is I still find myself doing a bit of post production cropping. Today’s image I decided to crop as a 4×5.
Next, I focused on removing any distractions, and in this case, there were a few buttons I simply cloned out using the dust removal tool in Lightroom. I did find myself opening the image in Photoshop to remove a very small strand of hair that was on her forehead. This required me to export the image out of Lightroom and into Photoshop. Whenever I do this, I always use the “edit a copy with Lightroom Adjustments.” You may ask, “Why did I export it into Photoshop versus correcting the problem in Lightroom?” Normally, I just make small cloning or dust removal adjustments in Lightroom, but because the hair was so small and hard to isoloate it required Photoshops assistance. Once I was finished cloning out the stray hair I simply closed the image in Photoshop, which in turn saved the image back into my Lightroom library.
The last and final step was to apply the very basic B&W High Contrast preset that ships with Adobe Lightroom. Once the preset was applied I was pretty much done with the image.
There you have it. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them.
It's contest time folks. November's contest is going to be all about black and white photography. I happen to love a good B&W photograph and I'm really looking forward to this month's contest. I'm sure I'm going to see some incredible work, much like I did with September's contest. The contest is simple, all you need to do is submit your best black and white portrait, landscape, or object/abstract to my Facebook Fan site. Below are the steps and the rules…..
The steps are simple.
- Become a fan of Batdorff Photography on Facebook. Click on this link HERE.
- Go to the Wall tab. Type in your name in the box that reads “Write something” and directly under that box click on attach photo and upload your favorite contest photo.
- Make sure to label your entry with a category. Use either landscape, portrait or object/abstract. (giving your image a title is always nice touch too)
- Make sure to comment on other people's photos…but remember, this is for fun!
The rules never change….here they are for those of you who might have forgotten or are new to this:
- Don’t post photos you did not take because it’s just not cool, and potentially illegal.
- Multiple entries are allowed. The same photo can NOT be used in more than one category.
- International entries are welcomed!
- Entries must be uploaded by November 8th.
- All entries need a category label.
- The winning entries will be announced on November 16th!
- All winning entries will be posted on my blog with some honorable mentions. Remember to comment on those that you like, as I do take that into consideration!
- Winners must contact me via the blog in order to claim their prize.
The prizes rock:
- Best B&W Landscape ($50.00 gift certificate)
- Best B&W Portrait ($50.00 gift certificate)
- Best B&W Object/Abstract ($50.00 gift certificate)
- My favorite honorable mention will get one year subscription to Black and White magazine.
The $50.00 gift certificate is to B&H Photo.
In addition to the prize, you’ll get some props when I post your award winning photo on my blog site.
I'll plan on announcing the winners November 16, on my blog.
If you have questions regarding the contest please leave a comment on today's blog.
One last thing, it's my hope to make this contest larger than the last, so I need your help. If you could spread the word, Re-tweet if you use Twitter , Facebook fans please share the post on your Wall or suggest my page to your friends, and for the rest of you simply suggest my blog to your friends.
I wish everyone the best and remember to have fun!
I want to thank everyone for your responses to yesterday’s blog. It was incredibly insightful and a lot of fun. What I love about yesterday’s exercise is it proves the point of the old adage “art is in the eye of the beholder.” We took the same image, applied two different treatments, and presto, the jury came in with mixed reactions. The majority felt the most passionate about the black and white – and if I were to market this image I would probably have picked the B/W simply because it appealed to a larger audience. The key point here is when you’re building a portfolio keep in mind one image can be worked several different ways. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into always shooting then processing things exactly the same way. Experiment a little, get feedback and who knows, you may get the best of both worlds.
Picking photos for your portfolio can be difficult as well as a very rewarding process. Often times I will work an image a couple different ways in Lightroom before I decide to jury opinions from others on the results. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t simply hand over the keys to the kingdom and say “do my work for me.” Quite the contrary. Getting input is a key part of the creative process, allowing photographers to grow and better understand their images. Now with that said, I think it’s crucial to surround yourself with people that you respect and can trust to provide you with honest (yet constructive ) feedback. That doesn’t mean you need to alter your creative intention around other people’s opinions. But solid feedback can be a valuable tool to help produce even better results. Sure, feedback can be rough, but when it’s constructive and done right it can be incredible rewarding. Today I’m posting two versions of the same photo to get your feedback. Tell me which one you like best and why?