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John Beardsworth

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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Related Categories: Photography

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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Related Categories: Photography

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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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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Related Categories: Photography

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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Related Categories: Photography

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

Striking the balance between and light and dark

When you have a photo that includes sharp contrast between light and dark, there’s always a possibility that you can lose detail in either the highlights or the shadows. While it’s generally recommended to ‘expose for the highlights’ so that you don’t blow out the lightest areas, you’ll also need to be careful not to […]

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Related Categories: Photography

Black and white conversions aren't black and white: how to get creative with portraits

The art of black and white is not a mechanical process where “best” can be determined objectively. There is no scientifically perfect contrast range or histogram shape. You have choices and creative decisions to make. There is a lot more to black and white than turning down your TV’s color saturation, or pressing an auto […]

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Related Categories: Photography

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