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The Art of Black and White Digital Photography

Picture of The Art of Black and White Digital Photography
In an age of digital photography, a lot of us appreciate the visual impact and elegance of black and white photography when juxtaposed with color photography. Black and White photography is not simply a result of old technology of a bygone era. Black and white is a technique that we can still employ today to enhance our photography. With black and white photography, we are allowed to see the world beyond colors. With black and white photography, we can control moods. With black and white photography, we can highlight details we normally would not see in color. Ultimately, with black and white photography, it is a technique that can enhance our ability to tell our story through imagery. However, unlike color photography, many of us have trouble creating artistic or compelling black and white photos.

Thus, this will be a beginner's guide to black and white photography. In this Instructables, we will learn to think in black and white, learn how to set up our camera, look at some examples of how we can use black and white photography to enhance our craft and lastly, we will look at some post processing tips. Techniques and opinions in this guide should not be taken as hard rules for black and white photography or photography in general. There are no absolute rules in photography, only suggestions. Experiment and see what works for you. Discover your own style.

Requirements:
  • Point and shoot digital camera or DSLR
  • A basic understanding of photography principle
  • A computer
  • Post processing software (Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, Gimp, iPhoto, etc)
  • and most important curiosity to learn
 
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Reiff1 year ago
This is really good photography. I really like the black and white because it points out the light and dark parts of a picture. With color in the first one, it would destroy the focal point, but with black and white it puts that at the focal point.
static2 years ago
Most of the photos of my youth where black, and white outdoor photos. Because color wasn't affordable. outdoor, because flash bulbs, and the batteries they require where also unaffordable. Your instructable is done well enough so the average snapshot photographer follow, if they wish to experiment. Because of that it should also be helpful to the artists that use the medium of photography. For the rest of us, if we took B&W photos, and showed them to other, we would be asked why they are in B&W. People are used to seeing old B&W photos, but expect to see new photos in color.
onemoroni12 years ago
Good information. However I haven't made the crossover from film to digital. I am intermediate talent and love B&W. Do my own darkroom work and there is nothing like it for me. Just a casual comment about digital B&W and my own personal observation. There is a distinct difference. Digital looks too perfect and seems to lack "pop". The one pic in your Instructable that I would consider having "pop" is the leading one where there is a lot of light energy. For what it's worth, my 2 cents.
imjasonc (author)  onemoroni12 years ago
Thanks for the comment.
I'm glad you enjoy your craft. I commend you for processing your own photos.
I shot film prior to digital, so I understand that the images of digital have a different "feel" to them vs film. However regarding the pop, I think thats more of a subjective matter or personal preference. Pop, like many things in photography, its an endless debate. What I try focus on with digital photography is what is possible with the medium, and not its limitation. Mind that digital photography has only been mainstream for a short period of time when compared to film. It will take us awhile before we can figure out what we can really do with digital photography and how to take advantage of it.

Recently, Xerox tried to determine the aesthetic quality with software. Im sure it will fuel more debates: https://services.open.xerox.com/WebApp2.svc/aesthetic-search/index.php
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