Foundations of Photography: Black and White

with Ben Long
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Foundations of Photography: Black and White
Video duration: 0s 3h 4m Intermediate


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


Welcome to Foundations of Photography: Black and White. If you are here, I can only assume it's because you have an interest in black- and-white photography, which is great because we are going to cover it all, from seeing to shooting to processing. In this course, we are going to discuss why you might want to shoot black and white. We are going to study what makes good black-and-white subject matter, we are going explore how to see in black and white, and we are going to cover some exposure strategies that will help you get black-and-white captures that will afford you all the editability you need when you get into post-production.

Once our shooting is over, we will launch Photoshop and get to work with the process of converting our images to grayscale and finessing them into great black-and-white images. Grayscale conversion, editing, toning, sharpening, and stylizing will all be covered before we head on to some tips on printing and output. Along the way, we'll take a look at some black-and-white plug-ins and we will discuss how to evaluate your final output and how to improve it if you find it lacking. For those who are curious as to why anyone would bother with black-and-white images when we have color, there should be some interesting surprises for you ahead as we review the vocabulary of black and white and learn that very often a black-and-white image is far more effective than a color image.

So let's get ready to explore Foundations of Photography: Black and White.

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