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Thread: How to Shoot B&W?

  1. #1
    NickScull
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    How to Shoot B&W?

    I am curious if anyone shoots B&W in the camera or if most people shoot in color and then convert afterwards in Photoshop or whatever program they use.

    I have always heard it is better to convert later but I don't know why.

    Thanks...

  2. #2
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: How to Shoot B&W?

    In-camera B&W is JPEG, so many decisions are already made for you, which is considered a Bad Thing for serious digital photography (much of the time). You generally want to shoot RAW so that you can later convert to B&W or fix white balance, or whatever. I use Nik Silver Efex to do digital B&W conversions. I even use it on my scanned B&W film negatives to do split-toning and other adjustments.

    On the other hand, you might like to experiment with shooting in the B&W mode of the camera for convenience, and to provide a creative constraint (constraints can sometimes be good things). For example, I kind of like the medium contrast B&W setting on my M8 and may choose to use it for certain occasions, though I usually convert RAW files. There are no rules.

  3. #3
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: How to Shoot B&W?

    When I had my M8 I used to like the ISO 2500 B&W jpeg setting. It was an interesting look. Aside from that though, I always shoot RAW and convert. Doing the processing is half the fun.

  4. #4
    NickScull
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    Re: How to Shoot B&W?

    Great answers and thank you both. I will look into Nik Silver Efex. I have been debating the return to my F5 and B&W film which I still prefer to digital but I have seen some excellent photos in this forum which rival the tonal quality of film. I am going to study the techniques some more and see if I can come up with what I am looking for.

  5. #5
    EnthusiasticPeter
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    Re: How to Shoot B&W?

    Nick,

    Most digital cameras out there have the built-in B&W mode/processing.

    And if you want to simulate shooting with black and white film in Photoshop, I highly commend you to look at the Alien Skin Exposure 3 plugin.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: How to Shoot B&W?

    One thing that others above haven't made clear is that if you shoot in color and then convert to B&W in post-processing, you have the option of combining color channels in different amounts to mimic the effect of using different colored filters on the lens with B&W film. It can make a tremendous improvement in the separation of tones between different parts of the image if you keep this option open rather than letting the camera do the "one size fits all" conversion to B&W for you.

    Nik Silver Efex (and probably other third-part converters) allow you to experiment with different color channel combinations extremely easily and quickly. Another recommendation for it...

    Lisa

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