View Full Version : NTP: Challenge VII - Black and White

06-05-2009, 7:07am
Welcome to the New to Photography Challenge VII

This challenge is about creating black and white (monochrome) photos. Monochrome photography can be dramatic. Photo journalism was always monochrome until quite recently. Ansel Adams (http://www.anseladams.com/) was the master of the monochrome landscape. For portraiture, monochrome produces stunning results, just look at how often some monochrome photos are part of a wedding album. Monochrome is also ideally suited to subjects that have powerful lines, geometric shapes etc, so consider all of the above when looking for your subject.

Monochrome can be a very powerful photographic technique that is often overlooked as a valuable choice.

So your challenge this time is to get a monochrome shot, in the genre of your choice. However, do not set your camera to monochrome. We want you to learn how to convert to monochrome using your editing software.

So read up, google, etc, on how to convert to mono in your chosen editing software, usually there can be different ways to do it, try to find the way that gives you the most freedom to choose how your photo will end up, rather than using the simple "convert to monochrome" option. If you really want to have a go, try using the dodge/burn tools (http://dustylens.com/Dodging%20and%20Burning%20for%20selective%20contrast.htm) on your photo as well.

06-05-2009, 10:25am
Ok, it's probably not the best example, but I'll give it a go.
Converted to B&W in CS3, then used the doge/burn tools to darken the edges, and lighten a few places in the centre to make the bridge stand out.. I'll add the original as well.


B&W conversion

06-05-2009, 10:44am
Good work Kirsty. Be careful with the dodge/burn tools. It is best to set them at 5-10% opacity and work upwards slowly, than say use at 25% straight off.

Well done though, lovely scene and nice use of rule of thirds

06-05-2009, 10:57am
Thanks Rick, I'll have another go at it a little later when the kids go down for a nap..lol :) It's touchy that dodge/burn tool isn't it?!

06-05-2009, 5:17pm
Ok here are mine. This is the Library at the school that I work at.

I have done mine three different ways using CS3:
#1 - Original
#2 - 100% Desaturation
#3 - Black and White Adjustment Layer (played with mainly the Red filter but also adjusted the other filters slightly)
#4 - Conversion done with a plugin - Dynamic effect.

06-05-2009, 6:59pm
I chose this pic for this exercise because the lighting was a bit tricky, not too sure about the b/w conversion though.



06-05-2009, 7:03pm
Nice work everyone. The trick is to learn to see in black and white. Look at the light and shade in a scene, the shapes and lines, rather than the colours. Once you start to 'see' like that, monochrome scenes will start to jump out at you

Hamish McHaggis
07-05-2009, 10:01am
Took this with a P&S while on honeymoon in Florence. At the time I was thinking it would work in B&W. For this exercise I’ve just opened in PS ->adjustments ->B&W, and increased the yellows which seemed to bring out the building on the RH side. I think the scene is too contrasty? I tried dodge/burn (as Rick suggested in the challenge) to do something with the sky and sunlight, but I reckon it is just too overexposed? Any feedback/advice appreciated.
Here’s the original

07-05-2009, 11:28am
Wow Hamish, nice shadows through your B&W.

07-05-2009, 11:43am
This is a shot I took a few weeks ago with the idea for a B&W. It was only a narrow space to shoot in without getting any obstructions in the shot. I thought B&W would better bring up the oil stains through the wood floor. I am still not happy with the final outcome but I used a variety of tools in PS to test which look best.

Initially I desaturated 100% in raw processing. Then used Tint B&W effect, dodge & burn, contrast tool, shadow & highlights tool too.

First shot is straight from camera (only resized).

07-05-2009, 11:43am
You have pointed out something in your post Hamish. Blown Highlights in a photo mean it can be effectively turned to mono, and work! Well done

07-05-2009, 12:32pm
Here's one that I took a few weeks ago in the Hunter Valley. I'm not happy with the sky - like Hamish, I think that it is overexposed, and I can't figure out how to fix it.


After going through some more pics, I think that this one works a lot better in b/w. I've used a black and white filter in photoshop and I've tried to keep the adjustments % adding up to 0, I think that i read somewhere that this makes the conversion a lot more natural - is that correct?

07-05-2009, 6:04pm
ok here is my effort

this was taken a couple of weeks ago on a walk up in the grampians.

I haven't experimented with the dodge and burn tool yet. I just simply adjusted the reds and yellows to get the tones i'm after.

oh and Ansel Adams is one of my all time fav photographers.

20-05-2009, 6:47pm
Conversion was done by desaturating and adjusting using the channel mixer in monochrome mode.

Regards GeeDee

20-05-2009, 7:09pm
Great work guys. You have chosen some good photos to convert to mono here.

31-01-2010, 8:14am
Here is my mono conversion. I chose this image because i think that mono makes it a bit more dramatic.


31-01-2010, 8:23am
Good work there Andrea, lots of action in that shot and using mono along with the crop has really given us a great photo that shows all the action, whilst telling us that it was taken a a rodeo, but without to many distracting background elements. Mono has worked well here.

06-06-2010, 1:18pm
Here is my attempt.
1. Original image
2. I converted to mono using the software that came with the camera, and also cropped it to get rid of the excess background, plus increased the contrast just a little.
3. Opened in photoshop and tried the burn tool. Um... it doesn't look very good, but I wasn't quite sure what I was aiming for. I was thinking along the lines of making the corners darker to kind of frame the image a little. I thought that would work for this subject. The bottom was already framed in a way so I left that alone and tried to do something with the top. But really, it just looks like a five year old got hold of an airbrush, he he. Actually they would probably have made a better job of it!

I will practice more at this!




Thanks :)

07-06-2010, 12:03am
This was one of my first outings with the 50D. Didn't like the colour version as it was soft but I really like it in B&W. It's still soft but I like it.


08-06-2010, 1:24pm
Ok, here are mine,

The B&W I also did some cloning.

red sand
10-06-2010, 10:09am
Enjoyed this challenge! Converted to mono and played with the balances to produce my new image. Thanks.