Effective Black and White

Black and white (“Monochrome”) is very effective when you want to draw attention to the subject, not the surrounding “stuff”. We should all do more black and white.

I find that in particular, high-key photos like this benefit greatly from being in B/W:

Any colour in the walls etc take away from the effectiveness. And B/W makes it much easier to make a face really stand out in this kind of light.

How do you do a picture like that? Very simple:

  • Camera on manual.
  • 800 ISO, 1/125th sec, f/5.6.
  • Flash Exposure Compensation set to +2 stops.
  • Flash aimed up, behind me. .

Why 800 ISO? To give the flash enough power. Why Flash Exposure Compensation? It’s a white scene and I want the camera to shoot it as such.

A little post work can be good in “documentary” shots like this:

Wide angle lens creates pleasing shapes.

And that post work I mentioned consists of B/W conversion, cropping/rotating, and adding a little contrast and a little film grain. Yes, ADDING film grain. Film grain (a standard option in Lightroom’s DEVELOP module, in the EFFECTS pane) is nice (unlike digital noise). Makes this look like an old B/W film picture.

Photography is such a rewarding activity.


Video too! I now have a new course, “Video with your DSLR”: see www.cameratraining.ca or ask me for private training. Worth it, learning to do pro video!


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