Beauty in Black & White

When I first started formal photography classes in school my first class was Black and White Film. It was easy and fairly inexpensive to process compared to colour film and so it was the first class required in my school. I loved that class. I loved everything about it from developing my own negatives to enlarging my own photos to mounting my final product and adding all the little finishing touches. I even loved the rotten egg smell of the chemicals. Ever since, black and white photography has had a big place in my heart whether it be digital or still my personal preference, film.

Recently I have been playing around quite a bit with digital black and white conversions. I am naturally drawn to the moodiness and depth of black and white, so I have been trying to improve my conversions to better convey the idea I have in my head and the feeling I have in my heart. I have always been drawn to nature photography above all and since there are so many amazing colours in nature, I enjoy the challenge of trying to make the black and white conversion look just as stunning to the eye.

How I edit each black and white in Photoshop varies depending on the image, but before moving over to Photoshop, my first few steps that I start out with in Lightroom are always the same…increase contrast and then further adjust blacks, shadows, highlights and whites until I get the effect I am looking for. What I’m trying to achieve is a variety of tones giving the image a multi-dimensional feeling vs one grey tone across the whole image. By doing this I feel a greater amount of depth and detail is portrayed in the image there for making it more appealing and interesting to the eye. Of course a lot of this depends on the original colours in the image. Generally the more neutrals in the photo the less contrast you will get, so adjust accordingly once the image is initially converted to black and white.

That being said, I am still forever learning and evolving, but here are some examples of a few favourites I have right now. One day I will post a colour vs black and white entry, but for now here are the black and whites on their own. All images shot with Nikon and either my 50mm f/1.8 as is or with extension tubes added to give a macro effect. The very last image is a film shot using my Minolta SRT201 50mm f/1.8 and Kodak Ektar ISO400 film. Hope you enjoy!

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2 comments on “Beauty in Black & White

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