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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.
I assume that you already have a large collection of color images that you've shot, and those color images can provide you with a way to practice recognizing what makes a good black-and-white image. Even mere color photographers have to worry about contrast and good light and good composition, so in the color work that you have been doing, you've probably already taken care of those issues. So now, go through your color images, or maybe just your best color images, and start looking at them with an eye towards black and white. Try to identify images that you think will work well in black and white.
This is basically a virtual version of what you'll do when you're out shooting in the color world, except that you've already found the nice shots and you've composed them and exposed them properly. Now again, you're looking for interesting plays of light and shadow, good contrast, or areas that can be turned into plays of light and dark depending on how you ultimately perform your black-and-white conversion. Once you have selected some images, you have two choices: you can make note of them and come back to them after we're done with the shooting lessons and we've moved on to black-and-white conversion, or you can jump ahead to black-and-white conversion right now and see how those images convert to black and white.
This will give you a chance to see if your eye was correct, and it'll give you some experience with black-and- white conversion before we go shooting. Black-and-white conversion starts in Chapter 4.
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