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black and white

How to mimic film grain

A lot of admirers of black-and-white photography mention its gritty appearance as one of its attractions. If that’s your thing, you’ll be glad to know that Silver Efex Pro offers one of the best ways to achieve it. Apart from liking the grainy look, one reason for adding grain is when you’re producing a set […]

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Strong graphics for strong black and white images

There’s no two ways about it, colour is intoxicating. Just think about how you respond to an orange-red sunset or an azure-blue ocean—these and innumerable other examples all create deeply felt, emotional responses. So in a monochrome image that is devoid of colour, our natural reaction is to seek out other qualities. But what is […]

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Defining colours in your black and white photos

While it might sound contradictory to discuss the importance of colour in your black and white photos, knowing how to emphasise and define individual colours, and capitalise on them, in your black and white conversions, will enable you to create stronger images. Black-and-white conversion can and should extend further than simply attempting to recreate a […]

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The balancing act of shadows and noise

Ideally, an exposure should capture detail in the brightest highlights and in the deepest shadows, and give the viewer a full range of tones. But digital sensors do not yet match the dynamic range of film, let alone of black-and-white film, and scenes frequently exceed the range of brightness that sensors can capture. Until recently, […]

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Applying tones to your black and white photos

The art of black and white photography extends beyond shades of grey. The very word monochrome means ‘one tone’, it just doesn’t say which one. Adding a coloured tone is a long-established darkroom technique for finishing the photograph and making it express other qualities and meanings. In the digital environment, toning no longer involves often-unpleasant […]

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The why and how of dodging and burning portraits

Dodging or burning small features can make a big difference to the final image and can often give portraits that crucial finishing touch. Gently burning in the sides of the face can emphasize bone structure and, perhaps rather like applying makeup, can make the person look slimmer. Meanwhile, toning down a man’s receding hairline is […]

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Taking care of shadows

The phrases ‘expose to the right’ or ‘expose for the highlights’ are common in photography. Protecting the highlights in a photo is regarded as important, because it’s easier to salvage shadow detail than it is to repair blown highlights. But the shadows do still require some attention! Here, you can see lots of blocked shadows. […]

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What's the best black and white filter?

There are some people who think of black and white photos as old-fashioned and many people absolutely love them. There’s nothing to stop you from loving either, but there is a classical elegance to photographs of people in black and white, that together with its miraculous skin tone evening properties, leaves them unsurpassed. Flickr’s ‘Newsprint’ […]

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How to compare your black and white conversion to the original

When a black-and-white conversion begins to look good, it can be hard to see how it might be better. With experience often comes a sense that you can squeeze more out of a picture, but there’s always a point when you don’t know for certain. Would changing the B&W mix improve a picture, or would […]

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Camera monochrome modes: when to use them and when to avoid them

Nowadays, cameras are packed with features, and black-and-white or monochrome modes are very common. They allow you to set the camera so it creates a black-and-white picture and then review it on the LCD panel immediately after taking it. While this can be informative, there are one or two downsides. Why opt for a colour […]

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Get the best out of your black and white images with basic optimisation techniques

When you convert an image from colour to black-and-white, it’s important to set some basic parameters that will bring out the best in the photo before you go on to fine-tune it. Whether you use a Raw converter or post-production software, you can use the basic optimisation process outlined here to bring out the three […]

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What works in black and white?

Even the most experienced and dedicated black-and-white photographers often question themselves about what works best in black and white. After all, does the black-and-white enthusiast really think differently when he or she looks through the viewfinder and presses the shutter release? Is it possible to see in black and white at that point? It’s a […]

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Related Categories: Photography

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