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Posts Tagged ‘black & white’

Nikon D300 105mm ISO 400 f4 1/1250

Nikon D300 105mm ISO 400 f4 1/1250

The way to know if a photo should be in colour of black & white is simple. If the photo is about the colour, it should be in colour; if its not, get rid of the distraction that colour causes. This is a paraphrase of something I learned watching CreativeLive.

A couple of weeks ago my five year old son was playing in the sunbeam of the window, with the innocence that only young children have, and I captured the beautiful moment pictured above. When I took this photo I didn’t consider whether it should be in colour or black & white, however the minute I uploaded it to my computer I knew that while this photo was decent straight out of the can, it would be even better in black & white.

When this photograph is viewed in colour, you get distracted by the orange glow of his ear, the redness of his lips, and to a lesser extent the blue stitches above his right eye. However in black and white the photo is all about how the light plays on his face. To the trained eye of the photographer, the intercepting lines on his face lead your eye to his eye. To the untrained eye, the intercepting lines on his face let you know that he is playing near a window, without the need for it to be in the photograph.

Now I have made it sound like this the perfect photo, I know it is far from it. His face is almost smack dab in the centre of the frame, and it would be even better if I had framed his face lower and more to the left. It would be better if I had captured how he was holding onto the curtains, so you could see that he was playing with them.  I can tell you that the reason I didn’t frame it right was because I only got a chance to fire the shutter twice before he got bored and moved on to something else. I can tell you that the reason is because I have decided to see if using only my center focus point on my camera which has the cross-hair focus make a difference to my photos. I can tell you all of these things, but they don’t really matter. What matters is that I did capture a perfect moment in time, and know that the image has more impact in black & white than in colour.

What do you think?

Window Light 06

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I quit smoking almost 6 weeks ago. To be honest with you the experience has been horrible. Ever since quitting smoking I’ve wanted to express my current feelings toward cigarettes through my photography. The idea of how to do this has been floating around in the back of my head for weeks. Today was my first attempt to express that emotion. Here are two versions of the photo.


In my mind I always envisioned the photo as black and white, however after playing around with white balance I’m starting to think the colour version with the adjusted white balance actually reflects my emotion to the subject more accurately. Before today when thinking about an image, the question had always been: “Should this image be in colour, black & white or sepia?” However digital has changed that question to: “If this image should be in colour, what colour temperature would portray the emotion of this image best?”

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Nikon D300 24-70mm @60mm f/2.8 1/100, ISO 800

[Click on photo to enlarge]

I recently posted about my relationship with Aperture 3, soon after I got a google notification that www.kirjaputiikki.fi had republished my article. Well the link love certainly made me feel great, but the real benefit came when I decided to check out that site again yesterday and found a link to this teeth whitening tutorial. I decided to watch the video even though I though I knew how to whiten teeth in Aperture. However the video showed me how to use multiple adjustment brushes. For example you can have an adjustment brush on the highlights/shadows of the photo, and then get another brush to highlights/shadows with different settings for a different part of the photo.

I find it so ironic that the post about me starting to doubt Aperture 3 actually lead to me finding exactly what I needed to make me love it all over again. I don’t do a lot of converting to black and white, but my frustration with white balance (in this post here) lead me to think that perhaps when I can’t get the colour right, that might be a good time to convert to black and white. The teeth whitening video then inspired me to use a brush to put the colour back into the photo selectively. I know the brushing wasn’t perfect, it was really hard to get right around his messy hair. But a friend of mine inspired me last night to experiment with things I haven’t done before, and to not expect the experiments to be perfect, but to be stepping-stones to greater things. The above photo is exactly that, a first time experiment. Thanks Paul.

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