Before & After: black and white

Before & After

When I was in college, my major was journalism. One of my required courses was photography. Back in the day, there were no digital cameras, I used a SLR (single-lens reflex) Ricoh. In the class we also learned film developing. All our photos were shot with black and white film. It was in this class that I first fell in love with b/w photography.

I thought the images were much more intriguing, leaving viewers to their own imagination. Using light filters, you could make significant changes in the contrast. Through developing it was possible to manipulate the image even more.

Now, I can do the same things with digital images. The advantage is that if I don’t like the edits, returning to the original photo is a simple ‘undo’ click away.

When transforming a color image to black and white, one of the first changes I try to make is to intensify the difference between the light and dark portions of the photo. I decrease exposure to darken shadows and increase contrast to boost the light sections.

Sometimes, I also like to rotate an image slightly to get a different angle/perspective. In this shot, I wanted to crop out that small portion of a window at the near left of the hallway without cropping the entire shot, but ended up cropping it anyway. I liked the twist in the shot, so kept it.

The final edit would more accurately be described as sepia, rather than black and white. I like the warmer colors here. I also felt that the stark white walls would over power the image without more dark sections.

Camera: Nikon D60
Setting: Auto  (flash off)
Lens: 35-55mm
Effects: adjust exposure (-5); adjust contrast (+15); rotate 3.61°; Cinemascope (no letter box); crop

Exposure: 0.6
Aperture f/4.0
ISO: 400
Flash: none

If you’re playing along, post your Before Straight out of Camera shots along with your After edited images. Click on Mr. Linky to add your post URL, then visit the other participants offering constructive appraisals of their photos and editing. For more info, check out the Before & After page on the top nav bar to find how to join the fun.

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