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Posts from the ‘Technical’ Category

It isn’t Always Black and White

sccemetery-7919Yesterday I did some photos in Black and White and added a touch of colour.  It was a fun process to do and I think the images came out well.  I know there are many people in photography that think black and white is the only way to go, there are others who think most images look better in black and white, then there are some of us who think it depends on the image.

I am not going to get into an argument about what is best, it is purely a personal thing.  However, having said that, I know there are many images that could be great black and white images, but due to the processing they aren’t.  Again, I know this can be a very personal thing, so all I can do is talk about what I think.  You can all have your say in the comments section.

Today I had a comment from someone wanting to know about how I did the photos yesterday.  It was an interesting comment, and I remembered that I had done posts on this in the past.  I did a tutorial on doing Black and White photos in GIMP, Black and White in GIMP – My Way and then I did one on Black and White Conversions.  It is a very subjective subject and I thought I might tackle it again, especially since I sccres-hpm5786-7wrote the latter over two years ago.

I think black and white images can be very dramatic, but they can also be boring, and it really depends on your subject matter.  I have always felt that your subject matter should determine which images should be made into monotone or duotone images.  Does it enhance the image more, if the colour is gone does the image miss something?  There are so many questions, but you have to answer those. In the end it is your image and has to be what you want.

However, having said that, there are still ways of taking a photo that would be great in black and white and then making it look horrible.  When I wrote the article on conversions it was because I was seeing so many black and white images on the scbarwon-8016-se1internet that had a lot of potential, but they hadn’t been processed right.

Many cameras now can take black and white images for you, it is not something I have ever done.  I like to take all my photos in colour, and then decide once I get them on the computer if I will make them black and white.  I like to have that choice, but I know many photographers that just shoot in B&W, again it is a personal choice.

Once the image is on the computer there are many ways to make it black and white. You can convert it to grey scale (if you do this, you won’t be able to use colour in the image, unless you save it, then convert it back to RGB), you can completely desaturate your image, or if you have Photoshop you can use the black and white adjustment layer.  I like the last option because then you have the choice to play with the tones of each colour, not sure that is the right way of putting it.

There is something that a lot people do to their images, or don’t do, and that is lookscbarwonheads-hpm8063-1sep1 at the contrast.  The contrast is the different between the darks and lights in your images, or the black and whites and everything in between.

When I started photography, I started with black and white, and developed my own films, and then printed them.  I converted my laundry into a darkroom that could only be used at night.  It worked, and I spent many evenings in there working on my images.  I was given some advice from another photographer that said, “make sure there is a black in your image, and there is a white.  He suggested using a piece of white paper and a piece of black to help make sure I had those.  It is good to also have the greys in between.

LeanneCole-ocean-ant4173You don’t want the image to be just black and white, that would be horrible, but you want a range of tones from black to white.  When I was at art school and drawing, I can remember my lecturers telling me that my drawings had no contrast, I didn’t know what they were talking about, now I do, the drawings had no darks, and they were very grey.  I worked it out eventually and my drawings got a lot better.

Photography is the same, if you don’t have that contrast, the images can look washed out if there are no blacks, or too dark if there are no whites.  It is a good thing to remember.

So how do you like your black and white images?  What is your favourite subject for those images?  Lastly, what do you use to process them?

Here is a little gallery of the images if you want a better look at them.


The Eyes Have It.

Recently I have been doing some internet courses and learning how to retouch skin. There are so many ways to do it, and I guess eventually what you have to do is work out which one works best for you.  Today I thought I would try a couple of different ways.

LeanneCole-briony-7107-oThis is the image I decided to use.  I took this shoot the other day in the city when we were just sitting around.  She liked it, so I thought I had a winner there.  I have been looking for some images that I could do some skin retouching on, and I thought this one would be good.  So I just processed this in Camera Raw as I do with most images. The other obvious problem was her sisters face in the side, so I thought a square crop would work best.

LeanneCole-briony-7107I tried using Joel Grimes technique for skin retouching.  I think it is a little harsh, and she really didn’t like it.  I like aspects of it, but she thought the eyes were too intense. I did try to explain to her that her eyes are intense in this image.  It is funny when you look at only this one, it looks okay, but then when I compare it with the next one I did, it does look strange.

LeanneCole-briony-7107-2This one is a lot softer and I used a different technique, I did some of what Joel did but left out some of the steps in the beginning.  She still thinks the eyes are too much, but she doesn’t seem to realise her eyes are like that.

It isn’t perfect, but it is interesting.  I am trying to learn frequency separation.  I have just purchased another workshop and am working my way through it. It has lots of tips for skin retouching.

I think if I want to do portraits then I need to learn as much about skin retouching as I can.  I will put the above images in a gallery so you can see them separate from the writing.

Taking the Canon 60D to Harrietville

Last week, I’m sure I mentioned that I was allowed to have the Canon EOS 60D for another few days so I could take it to Harrietville and try it out.  I did take it and I managed to get out a few times with it.  It went back on Tuesday so it is time to tell you what I thought.

Benalla 1On the way up we stopped at the Benalla Art Gallery for lunch and I saw this bridge close by and went for a quick walk underneath it.   With images like this I had no trouble using the camera, it did what I wanted and the images came out quite well.

Benalla 2The bridge from the side.  Again, the colours are good and it is a good representation of what I was seeing.

As I stated before, it is a nice camera to hold and to take photos with.  I found it easy to carry around with me and never though, I really want to put this away.  It would be  good to use all day if you are travelling.  Well, compared to my Nikon camera, it is much easier to continue carrying.

Coffee Break 1When we went across the road in Harrietville for coffee I just slung the camera over my shoulder and when opportunities came up to take photos, well I took them.  Again, it was easy to use and fun to use.

Coffee Break 2I managed to get really close with this image and got a great shot of the muffin.

It had been fun to use, but when I went out the next morning, well, let’s look at a photo.

Harrietville 1In the morning I thought I would go for a walk around town with the camera and just take some snaps.  It wasn’t very good light and I tried to change some of the settings, but they wouldn’t change the way I wanted them to.

Harrietville 2I got a couple of good shots, but I was actually disappointed with a lot of them.  They were out of focus, or just not quite in focus.  I don’t know if it was because I had been fiddling around with the metering, or the ISO was too low, or what.  I am positive that it isn’t a real problem with the camera, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get any photos in focus.

It is a great camera, there is no denying that, but I don’t think I would buy it.  I found it hard to work out and things that I thought would be so easy to work out, just weren’t.  It really is a camera that you need, need to read the manual for.  I didn’t have the manual with me, but if I owned the camera I would always have it with me.  I  would keep a copy of the manual on my phone.  You would need to I think.  Some cameras you can just pick up, use and work everything out, but I didn’t find that.

When I was lent the Canon EOS 600D last year, I can remember loving it, almost to the point of not wanting to give it back. I thought it was a great camera, but I didn’t fall in love with the 60D.  I wanted to and I kept trying it, it just didn’t happen.  I know a lot of you have this camera and love it, and I really wanted to feel the same.  I am sorry about that.  Interesting how different each camera can be.