Shooting in B&W vs Colour Conversion

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by GeorgeUK, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. GeorgeUK

    GeorgeUK TPF Noob!

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    Browsing through the B&W section and was v impressed with the work on show.

    Out of interest, are most of the photos in there...

    - Shot directly B&W or...
    - Taken in colour and then converted in Photoshop?

    I've tried the later with a few of my photos, but I often find they look quite 'dull'. What's the best way to approach a colour to B&W conversion?

    TIA :)
     
  2. running_with_scissors

    running_with_scissors TPF Noob!

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    I believe most pictures are taken in Color and then manipulated in Photoshop with the logic that by keeping it in color you have more to work with. Photoshop also gives you more room to play around with the contrast levels and such.... I'm no expert though.
     
  3. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Rarely do I convert to BW form color. My digital has a BW setting as well as a sepia setting and I will use BW film. I'll shoot directly to BW when I want it.
     
  4. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    It is smarter to shoot in colour I'd say...
    You can always keep the colour if you really like it...but if you shoot in black and white, you're outta luck.
    Unless you shoot in RAW...I'm pretty sure it doesn't delete the colour data in RAW.

    But still. Shooting is colour gives you more options, and most people do it that way.
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do not agree with you on this, Shooting color and shooting BW have different composition facets. I see this ideaology a lot here, countless times have I seen the phrase "i'd look better in color" however there are a handfull of times this is not the case. When composing a color shot colors have to be taken into consideration where as BW you are looking for shades of grey. some times these shades of grey come from colors that are not appropriate for the shot at hand in color. There was a picture posted here reasently, the user posted both the color and the BW convertion. The Color shot looked like absolute sht in my oppinion, this gaughty ass red lumber on an off white backing. That red did however make for a very nice dark grey that set rather nicely agenst the pale wall. At the same time I have seen total mis use of convertion abilities making the "i'd look better in color" line appropriate but still.

    Converting to BW from color because an image did not work in color is one thing, converting it back because it did not work in BW is another. I personally think if one is wanting to shoot BW that they should shoot it BW, nine times out of ten the error is in composition and contrary to popular belief the decition to shoot the shot in color or BW is a part of composition especially with planned shoots or when one has the availibility to switch from one to the other on the fly.

    Shooting directly to BW is far better in my oppinion because one does not become overly relyant on convertion, Yes some images will fail but it boils down to better decition making and composition in the end. Also (I don't care what anyone sais) digital still can't keep par with film with BW, learn to get it right the first time and save money on film for the best works later.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is a no-brainier I think. If you have a digital camera shoot in colour. Not sure how other cameras work but the Nikons if you shoot in RAW keep the colour (of course) but display a black and white on the LCD.

    So why is it a no-brainier? Anyone who really enjoys B&W photography should have a complete set of colour filters to allow you to get different effects. They are fundamentally important to controlling the tone of B&W, and anyone who says otherwise (I really mean no disrespect) is kidding themselves.

    By all means what battou said applies. Do not thing an image can be "saved" by converting to black and white. But if you shoot straight to a black and white jpeg you are with a click of a button limiting your options dramatically unless you have a colour filter set. In colour you can mimic these filters using channel mixers or with the tools lightroom etc offer, but if you shoot in black and white it's gone. This ultimately has nothing to do with composition though since you can't save a crap image, but you can spoil a good one with boring tone.

    Stop, plan ahead, if you intend to shoot black and white go for it, but do the final conversion on the computer, or drop a few hundred $$ on a complete colour filter set. It's the difference between a black and white image and a stunning black and white image.
     
  7. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour TPF Noob!

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    NE1 know if this is true? If I shoot in b&w raw will it save a color file with it? thats kool if u can.
     
  8. GeorgeUK

    GeorgeUK TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the advice guys. :)

    Just for clarification (as I'm a bit of a n00b)...

    - A jpeg will save as is on the screen when the photo is taken
    - RAW format will save the B&W image, but will have all the info for colour as well


    Regarding the actual change to b&w from colour (on the jpegs), how's the best way to do it?

    I use Paint Shop Pro (7) and I either choose:
    - Colours--->Greyscale
    or
    - Colours--->Colourize--->Hue/Sat levels = 0.

    As mentioned, I find this usually results in quite a flat image. Is this a typical problem with b&w conversions in jpegs and will it always require playing with the contrast, or is there a better way to do it.

    No doubt I should start shooting in RAW!
     
  9. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't know Paint Shop Pro (7) but from my experiance with Photodraw and Illustrator I advise greyscale.
     
  10. noobyy

    noobyy TPF Noob!

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    Take it in RAW format easily manupilated on the comp. you can use many softwares or the typical photoshop which i'm bored of so, be imaginative and all..
     
  11. GeorgeUK

    GeorgeUK TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice. :)
     
  12. noobyy

    noobyy TPF Noob!

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    haha okay i'm new here btw, hello =) so, you are from UK? i'm from Singapore myb you hvn't heard of it haha ouhh well.. reguarding the software issues, try to go to any retailer for those softwares there's a variety for you to choose from so, try and search for afew ask me about those products i'll do some survey and mayb you can find an appropriate one..

    well..are you an experianced editor? if you are try going for the Photoshop CS3 Pro edt. i noe i said i'm bored wit it because i've been using the software since i'm nine and i'm 14 now haha it's like 6 years haha...
     

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