Most digital cameras allow you to take your photos in black and white if you wish. Some digital cameras have such a feature built in that will allow you to convert photos to black and white within the camera. Also, most cameras now come with some sort of editing software. If you take the photo in color you can adjust it to black and white with that software. Doing it this way, you have the option to use the photo either way.
There is a huge difference in the quality of black and white that you can create depending on the quality of the software that you use. If you are serious about your photography but don’t want to spring for Adobe Photo Shop then Adobe’s Lightroom is an excellent choice. I find it very intuitive. Much less costly particularly if you are a student.
If you have come into photography in the digital age then you may never have worked with or used black and white images. A couple of clicks can transform a photo from a simple recording of a place or an event into a work of art. (If you have a friend that has an old film enlarger or the availability of one at a school or some such, try your hand. It is a lot more work but real magic.)
If you have been just taking color pictures it is time to take things up a notch:
Pick ten photos that you have taken in the last 2-3 months. Open your software editing program. You will likely have gotten one with your camera purchase. If you don’t have it available or don’t like it then there are several free programs online. One such is PhotoScape. Quite simple to use and has a few interesting filters. There are only three different ‘black and white’ settings that are available but it gets one started.
With whatever software that you are using take your first photo and convert it to black and white. Save it as a separate file. Now you can make it a little more interesting by using the Brightness/Contrast settings. Make a couple of adjustments and then save that one to a different file name again. Open both photos and the color one and compare.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. As long as you save the photo to a different file name than the original then you will be OK. Try some with people/portraits so that you can see what happens with skin tones and then some with landscapes or even a beach or sunset shot. You will be amazed – hopefully, in a good way. This exercise will also help you to pay attention to certain things next time you are shooting that particular type of subject. For example, if you want more detail in a portrait shot, you will likely try to change the light or settings next time.
While you are experimenting play with the brightness and contrast buttons. Try some extremes to see the what effects that you can create. There are many sophisticated photo editing programs but something like PhotoScape will give you some experience to see what you like and don’t like. From there you can research to see the best software for your purposes.
If you are going to take photos that you are intending to convert to black and white note that colors will come out various shades of grey. Ideally one wants the full range from white to black in most finished photos. If you are shooting in very bright sunlight, when you convert you may end up with just white and black. If that is your intention it can be accentuated by using the Brightness/Contrast buttons again.
The most useful thing to do as with anything is to try it out as you are learning. Keep that balance. Don’t try to study it all first but take one thing at a time and try it.
M Glyn authors the website www.photo-photo.com A photo website with tips and tricks on photography.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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