Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Foundations of Photography: Black and White

Seeing in black and white


From:

Foundations of Photography: Black and White

with Ben Long

Video: Seeing in black and white

One of the things about black and white that can intimidate beginning photographers is that they think they have to be able to see the world in black and white. I guarantee you, when I'm shooting, I do not have a black-and-white image in my mind. I cannot perfectly imagine the color world around me in black and white, but that doesn't mean that I don't look at the world in a different way when I'm shooting in black and white. Now very often, you'll simply do what you always do: you'll walk around, you'll look for interesting subject matter, and then you'll compose and shoot. In a rapidly changing situation, you may not think at all about how light or dark you want particular tones to be in your final image.
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

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
Foundations of Photography: Black and White
3h 4m Intermediate Jun 29, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this Foundations of Photography, Ben Long shows photographers how to develop a black and white vocabulary and explains the considerations to take into account when shooting for this medium. The course follows Ben as he goes on location and explains what makes good black and white subject matter and how to visualize the scene in terms of tonal values and contrast rather than color. Along the way, he demonstrates some exposure strategies for getting the best images. Back at the computer, Ben demonstrates techniques for converting the resulting photos into black and white using Photoshop and other imaging tools, and offers tips on printing and output.

Topics include:
  • Why shoot in black and white
  • How to recognize good black-and-white subject matter
  • Preparing the camera
  • Shooting a tone-based subject
  • Exposing for black and white
  • Understanding grayscale
  • Converting from color to black and white using Photoshop CS4 or CS5
  • Converting to black and white in Camera Raw
  • Vignetting
  • Toning and split-toning
  • Comparing high key versus low key images
  • Preparing a black and white image for print
Subjects:
Photography Photography Foundations Black and White
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Ben Long

Seeing in black and white

One of the things about black and white that can intimidate beginning photographers is that they think they have to be able to see the world in black and white. I guarantee you, when I'm shooting, I do not have a black-and-white image in my mind. I cannot perfectly imagine the color world around me in black and white, but that doesn't mean that I don't look at the world in a different way when I'm shooting in black and white. Now very often, you'll simply do what you always do: you'll walk around, you'll look for interesting subject matter, and then you'll compose and shoot. In a rapidly changing situation, you may not think at all about how light or dark you want particular tones to be in your final image.

You'll figure all that out later when you convert your image to grayscale. You may want to think some about exposure, and we'll talk about that later. But as we've already discussed, a black-and-white photograph is a record only of luminance, or brightness. So if you move through the world paying extra attention to changes in brightness or curious plays of brightness or darkness then your eyes will be open to potential black-and-white images. You don't have to be able to see in your mind's eye what the finished image might look like. You can figure that out in post. All you have to do is be able to recognize that a scene might make a good black-and-white image.

You then capture that and figure out later if it works. Now, if you are just starting out, make it easy on yourself and do your practice and what you know will be good light. Head out in the late afternoon when the shadows are long and the light is contrasty and start practicing. Trying to find good subject matter in dull midday light is just going to be a discouraging exercise in frustration. So tilt things in your favor and be certain that you're working in good light. Later you can practice with less ideal lighting. Remember, too, to always keep your eyes open for any interesting relationships of tone, regardless of what the light is like, like we saw earlier with the lamp example.

As digital photographers, we are not of course committed to choosing to shoot in either color or black and white; in fact, we're always shooting in color. When you get adept at shooting in black and white you'll be able to move through the world doing your normal color shooting, but also have your eyes open to potential black-and-white images, and there will be times when something that you thought was going to be a good color image will work better in black and white and vice versa. For now though, while you're learning about black and white, it's best to go out in the world with the idea that you're only looking for good black-and-white images.

For a while you need to just wallow in black and white, and shoot only that.

There are currently no FAQs about Foundations of Photography: Black and White.

Share a link to this course
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.
Upgrade now


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.

Upgrade now

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
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



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.

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