black and white


Been spending a lot of time on here!
Nov 15, 2011
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Texas (Hill Country)
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What type of photo makes a good black and white? I love the timeless black and white pics and have attempted it with many photos and always end up sticking with the color. I can't figure out if I am just doing the blk/wht conversion wrong or if I am picking the wrong photos to convert. I have followed several tutorials and messed around with many settings (not just 'converting'). What should I look for when choosing pics for black and white?
To name a few - city street scenes, mechanical, industrial, some portraits and people images.

Although in my many years I have seen some nice B&W landscapes (especially era, circa stuff), I don't prefer B&W. I do see a lot of people turning to B&W for landscapes when they get frustrated with trying towork with harsh light, low light or super contrast scenes. A lot of people take what they think is the easy way -Sorry, it's a fact and I see it all too often
A good range of tones.

Sometimes that means just a few tones, sometimes it means a lot of tones.

The one thing that usually makes a B&W image pleasing is the range of contrast in the image.

With experience we can more easily visualize what we see in color, could look like in B&W.
I shot this with a blue gel on my light,


With the intent the final image would be B&W. I used blue because it is one of the primary additive color model (RGB) colors. I knew blue would give more control for the conversion to B&W than just the white light from the flash unit:

I think it's just a matter of personal preference, I'm not sure why I choose b&w sometimes. Maybe if the colors are doing nothing for the subject/scene? I used to shoot only b&w film so I just kind of gravitate toward it with digital. Maybe post a photo you're having trouble with and we can help you more specifically.
Keith that photo looks amazing! Thanks for the tips and advice. I mainly do portrait stuff so I will have to look for photos with good tonal range (and yes I love the photos with emotion to be b/w too). I don't have a specific one in mind, but next time I find one I'll post it for help :) Hopefully I do get better with experience. Thanks again!

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