Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Day five challenge: Composing with B&W in mind, part of 5-Day Photo Challenge: Composition.
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- Welcome to day five of the five day photo challenge. This is the last day, and today I'm going to ask you to abandon color. Today the assignment is simply to shoot a black and white image. Now if you've never shot black and white before, that may be a bit of a challenge. If you have shot black and white before, you may wonder, well, why is that the assignment? It's very simple, black and white shooting is really related to the other exercises we've been doing. Black and white shooting is all about line and shape, light and dark. Color is irrelevant in a black and white picture. So to go out and look for a black and white image is to go out and see the world as strong graphical elements.
And that's a very, very important piece of your eye to develop as a photographer because as you begin to see the world more simply as graphic elements, you're going to start to build compositions in a different way, and that's going to open up a lot more photographic freedom for you. Now your camera may have a black and white mode on it. If you're shooting jpeg, you may be able to activate a black and white picture style or scene mode or something like that so that you actually see black and white in the live view screen on your viewfinder. I don't want you to do that. I want you shooting in color and converting to black and white later for a couple of reasons.
One, shooting in color and converting to black and white gives you a lot more control over the toning of your image. It also means you can continue to shoot raw so that you've got highlight recovery. But mostly it means that you've got to go out and learn to recognize a black and white image on your own. This doesn't mean being able to see the world in black and white, it just means being able to recognize that's good black and white subject matter because it's strong line and strong shape and strong light. So that's the way I want you to do the assignment. Come back in a little bit to see my solution to the problem.
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