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I'm looking for any and all advice on BW starting from the shooting/composition/subject to the processing end of it.

What makes a good BW good? I remember Kimi had HW once and said the blacks have to be really black and the whites really white.

Examples would be great too!!!!

Also what is everyones favorite tricks for processing to BW in elements.
thanks ahead.... I am really trying to branch into something new (a recent BW below...)



Oh one more thought

Is topaz helpful in processing BW? Suzi I think you do a lot in topaz....

Thanks ahead or the advice, support, examples and whatever is offered on this thread :thanks:
One of the best filters I have found for B/W is Nik Silver. Love that filter, use it in conjunction with Topaz adjust. For me B/W should have a good range of greys also but basically it is what you like best

One of my favorite B/W's

beautiful suzi
From the shooting/composition/subject end, you really have to "think in black and white". Not so easy, really. The whole image will stand or fall on composition (lines, curves, diagonals, shapes, whatever it takes to make the eye work slowly and smoothly, with no jerking or hopping about, when viewing the finished article). That's something to think about before getting your camera out, and only by looking at thousands of successful b&w images can the 'method' begin to sink in. Think of rules of thirds, by all means, but in the end it's what the viewer's eyes do.

Secondly, forget relying on colour - it won't help at all in the long run and I've got hundreds of pictures that, even when taking the shot, thought might turn out well in b&w.... and simply didn't (though sometimes a desaturated, but not quite monochrome image may be a major improvement). I've never tried this myself, but I was once told that the "Raw+Jpeg" shooting option is quite good - and setting the camera to b&w - it will only affect the Jpeg and the Raw will still have the colour - but you'll see very quickly whether the shot is worth working on to make a good b&w - if it looks ok on the Jpeg, work on the Raw.

Think also of exposure and the dynamic range of the subject...... a little reading of Ansel Adams's Zone System can work well, if adapted to digital - you'll be wanting a full (or as full as possible) range of tones between black and white (in fact you don't really need the extremes of full black and full white, but a good range of tones in the middle is important). You may find yourself needing to use a ND Grad filter to help you balance the exposure and get more mid-tones.

So, ignore the colour, just look for shapes and lines - and gaze a little longer to see how your own eyes wander around the view. Once you've got the shot, have a look around for good tutorials about getting the best out of a b&w....... there are some good tips on this page at Photo Radar......
PSE6 on WinXP, Pentax K10d...... and now a Canon G10.

thank you SO much Geoff that link is AWESOME
[quote="geoff_chalcraft"]From the shooting/composition/subject end, you really have to "think in black and white". Not so easy, really. /quote]

That's very true, Geoff. I can compare this to learning a new language: you have to forget your own 'coloured' language and try to practice the new one just like if you are alone in the country of the language. I had a few opportunities to visit Florence to guide groups of teenagers. After 2 trips with the usual slides shots, I decided to see Florence 'in black and white'. Believe me, I got very involved in the process and it did work.
The raw+jpeg trick may help.
Michel B
PSE6, 11,12,13.1 - LR 5.7 Windows 7 64 - OneOne Photo Perfect Suite - Canon 20D, Pana TZ6 - Fuji X100S
Most used add-ons: Elements+

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