Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Preparing the camera

From: Foundations of Photography: Black and White

Video: Preparing the camera

There won't be a lot of technical difference between your black-and-white and color shooting, but there is a little bit of camera configuration that you need to consider. First, should you shoot RAW or JPEG? Ultimately, the big difference between RAW and JPEG is not one of image quality. RAW does not yield better images than what you can get from JPEG. You won't see more sharpness. In fact, straight out of the camera, RAW images will probably be less sharp than JPEG images. If you're shooting color, you won't have more vibrant color in your images, nor will you get more dynamic range--that is, the range from the darkest to lightest tones that the camera can capture.

Preparing the camera

There won't be a lot of technical difference between your black-and-white and color shooting, but there is a little bit of camera configuration that you need to consider. First, should you shoot RAW or JPEG? Ultimately, the big difference between RAW and JPEG is not one of image quality. RAW does not yield better images than what you can get from JPEG. You won't see more sharpness. In fact, straight out of the camera, RAW images will probably be less sharp than JPEG images. If you're shooting color, you won't have more vibrant color in your images, nor will you get more dynamic range--that is, the range from the darkest to lightest tones that the camera can capture.

What RAW will get you is the ability to perform edits that are simply not possible with JPEG files. Now this doesn't really matter to us for black and white, but with RAW files, you can change the white balance of an image after you shoot, something that's not possible with JPEG. What is useful for us is the ability to very often recover overexposed highlights when shooting with RAW. RAW also allows us to perform more edits to our images before certain ugly types of artifacts appear. Because you tend to do a lot of editing to black-and-white files, pushing colors around very specific gray tones, this extra editability is very welcome.

So I highly recommend shooting in RAW if your camera allows it. Your camera might also have a black-and-white mode on it. If you're a Nikon shooter, you might have a black-and-white picture control, while Canon shooters might have a black-and-white picture style. Other cameras might have their own equivalent of black-and-white mode. Now a lot of people think, "Oh, this is great. I don't have to wonder what my color world looks like anymore. I just put my camera in black-and-white mode and I see it right there on the screen." Alas, there is no such thing as a free lunch, or free black-and-white visualization.

I am going to heartily recommend that you do not use the black-and-white modes on your camera, for a couple of reasons. First, as we've already discussed, there is no objective rule for what shade of gray corresponds to a particular color. The same color image can be converted to black and white in many different ways. Now what your camera shows you as a black-and-white when you're shooting with a black-and-white mode is just one possible interpretation of that color scene, and it may not be the one you had in mind. I don't want that camera's stock, probably kind of blah, black-and-white conversion recipe to limit your thinking of what can be done with a particular scene.

You might think, "Oh, that shoot is going to be really good in black and white," and shoot it in your camera's black-and-white mode and then look at the that camera-generated version, be kind of under-whelmed, and give up on that scene when in fact, it could be a very good black-and-white picture with a better black-and-white conversion. Second, if you're shooting RAW, all this black-and-white mode stuff is irrelevant anyway because that black-and-white conversion step that your camera is doing is a post-processing function and only works on JPEG images. Still, some cameras will show you a black-and-white review in black-and- white mode, even when you're shooting RAW, but your RAW file will still come in as color.

Finally, even if you're shooting JPEG, I don't recommend these modes for the additional reason of editability. As I already mentioned, there is a finite amount of editing that you can do to an image before certain types of ugly artifacts appear, and black-and-white conversion in camera will use up some of that editability. If you then want to do additional edits to improve the camera's conversion, you'll have far less latitude in your image to work with. Most importantly, learning to visualize in black and white is not that hard, so you simply don't need that crutch of a black-and-white preview.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Black and White
Foundations of Photography: Black and White

39 video lessons · 22951 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 8m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 24s
    2. Why black and white?
      5m 12s
    3. Suggested prerequisites
      53s
    4. Using the exercise files
      56s
  2. 19m 43s
    1. Is it really black and white?
      1m 9s
    2. How gray corresponds to color
      4m 38s
    3. The medium of black and white
      3m 5s
    4. The vocabulary of black and white
      4m 46s
    5. The physiology of black and white
      2m 22s
    6. How a camera's image sensor captures an image
      3m 43s
  3. 32m 46s
    1. Preparing the camera
      3m 34s
    2. Light revisited
      6m 3s
    3. Seeing in black and white
      2m 21s
    4. Taking a black-and-white expedition
      1m 17s
    5. Finding and shooting a black-and-white image
      11m 14s
    6. Shooting a tone-based subject
      2m 0s
    7. Exposing for black and white
      6m 17s
  4. 1h 38m
    1. The nature of grayscale images
      3m 33s
    2. Converting to black and white using Photoshop CS4 or CS5
      6m 17s
    3. More about the Black & White dialog box
      3m 19s
    4. Converting to black and white using Black & White adjustment layers
      3m 55s
    5. Converting to black and white in Camera Raw
      4m 5s
    6. Making an advanced tonal correction
      17m 33s
    7. Doing more tonal corrections
      14m 6s
    8. Calming down highlights
      10m 4s
    9. Vignetting
      8m 58s
    10. The trestle images
      2m 39s
    11. Handling tricky skies
      2m 43s
    12. Doing a selective black-and-white conversion
      2m 23s
    13. Toning
      1m 19s
    14. Split-toning
      2m 19s
    15. High-key and low-key images
      2m 32s
    16. Diffusion
      4m 40s
    17. Using Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in
      7m 46s
  5. 24m 14s
    1. Selecting a printer
      5m 17s
    2. Preparing the image for print
      8m 30s
    3. Configuring the Print dialog
      5m 9s
    4. Evaluating a print
      5m 18s
  6. 43s
    1. Goodbye
      43s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Foundations of Photography: Black and White.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.