My No.1 Black and White Photography Tip:
Always Shoot in Colour!
Who'd have thought that a black and white photography tip would be to shoot in colour?
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I have always firmly believed and advocated that a digital photographer should build bases
for himself or herself.
By this, I mean that you should never have to repeat any task in your digital photography workflow.
Everything you create should be editable; do-able and undo-able now, tomorrow or at any time in the future.
With that in mind, here's a thought for you to carry forevermore on your digital journey:
If you regularly select a black and white shooting mode on your camera, it's time to stop!
Always shoot in colour!
By doing this, you are retaining control of the process and your workflow at all times — you can always make a black and white conversion in your preferred editing software at a later date.
Take the above example...
By capturing these oars in colour, I have made full use of the camera's capabilities.
Shot on a Panasonic Lumix LX3 compact camera, I was able to make the photograph using the
RAW File Format
, thus ensuring that the camera's full dynamic range, resolution, gamut and bit depth were utilised to produce the best possible capture.
An Aside: Digital Photography Terminology
OK, I hold my hands up!
I've just used some jargon in the last paragraph that may be understandably baffling to you and teetering outside the realms of my intention to keep things clear and simple.
Fear not, as I have compiled a list of
digital photography terminology.
This is a comprehensive glossary, currently covering nearly sixty terms.
You, the visitor, can even make requests for jargon that you feel is missing or would like to know more about!
Now that I have the digital file of the oars, I can choose to do whatever I wish with it, even though the photograph was made some time ago.
It may be that my intention was always to make the image black and white...
...however, in keeping with my black and white photography tip, by capturing a panchromatic response (that's a fancy way of saying a 'full colour image' and is the opposite of 'monochromatic'), I will always have the opportunity to change my mind.
Don't forget, for example, that some stock libraries simply won't accept black and white files as their clients like to make the choice between color and black and white for themselves.
So powerful and accessible are the editing facilities we have to hand these days (such as Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop and Lightroom) that the permutations are almost boundless.
Furthermore, particularly after reading
, you will have the skills to make a much better job of a black and white conversion than your camera ever will!
In short, if you shoot in black and white, the decision of how your photograph will look is dictated forever and you won't have exploited the full capabilities of your equipment, your pride and joy.
So, take a step back and follow my number one black and white photography tip — build the very first base for your digital workflow:
Shoot in colour at all times!
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