A system developed by the great landscape photographer Ansel Adams for measuring the light levels throughout a scene and allocating them to ten brightness ‘zones’. The idea was to develop the film to a specific level of contrast that captured the full range of tones and make appropriate artistic interpretations with dodging and burning during […]
Black and white photography
Black and white photography is still very popular, particularly amongst 'art' photographers. You might imagine that colour photography, offering more information about the world than black and white, would be innately superior. But that's not how it works. Black and white has a graphic quality that makes it easier to dissociate the subject matter from the visual appearance of the picture. In other words, people are more likely to appreciate the picture for its composition and its effect than they are to look at it literally and ask you why you took a picture of that particular subject. Anyhow, here's a selection of articles about black and white photography which will explain a little more about the technical side.
Photography by Rod Lawton
Adding a coloured tone to black and white pictures to add depth or atmosphere. The most famous is sepia toning, so often used for Victorian portraits. These days most people simulate toning effects digitally using colour controls and effects filters.
Tonality is a software tool for creating a wide variety of black and white image effects but also includes some colour processes too. It comes with a wide range of preset effects, each of which can be adjusted using manual controls. You can also create and save effects of your own.
A more complex type of toning where two colours are used not one – shadows are tinted with one tone and highlights with another. The results can be very effective, though it’s not always easy to find good-looking toning combinations and split toning doesn’t work with all images.
An interesting localised contrast adjustment in Silver Efex Pro, part of the Nik Collection. Positive values give images increased contrast but with a dark ‘glow’ effect around objects that can be very effective as a ‘look’. Negative values brighten shadows and dim down highlights and can be a useful pseudo-HDR tool – though you will […]
Software plug-in for creating authentic-looking black and white film looks, and part of the Google Nik Collection. Silver Efex Pro can replicate the look of classic black and white materials and darkroom effects. It also offers ‘control points’ for localised dodging and burning.
An old black and white darkroom technique that turns regular black and white prints a vintage brown. It also adds depth and richness to monochrome images. These days it’s an effect that’s easy to create digitally and is just one of a number of popular toning effects.
Used in black and white photography to darken blue skies and lighten skintones and foliage. It can produce dramatic, high-contrast images.
Classic black and white technique where certain areas of a print are held back (dodged) under the enlarger to make them lighter and others are given extra exposure (burning in) to make them darker. The terms are still used to describe the way images can be improved digitally.
A colour filter used in black and white photography to change the shade of grey that colours are reproduced as. They’re called ‘contrast’ filters because they can change the contrast (in shades of grey) between different colours.
A tool in Silver Efex Pro for darkening the top, bottom, left or right sides of a photo, or any combination of these. You can use it at the top to simulate a graduated neutral density filter or on all four edges for a controllable vignette effect.
It does seem a bit crazy that black and white photographers use coloured filters, but there is a reason for this. When you shoot in black and white, the camera or the film is converting different colours into shades of grey. When you use a coloured filter, you’re shifting and changing the brightness of the […]
Technically, black and white should be ‘less’ than colour, but its popularity is, if anything increasing. Black and white suits some subjects extremely well, drawing more attention to shapes, lighting and composition than is generally possible with colour photography. Most cameras have black and white picture modes, which is very useful when you’re composing images, […]
Black and white film simulation mode added to newer Fujifilm cameras. It’s designed to give richer, more intense tonal rendition than the regular monochrome film simulation.