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Black and White Lesson and a Surprise Challenge

1570 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Buddysmom
Linda asked me to do a Lesson on Black and White Photography. So here's how it's going to work. Read the lesson and follow the instructions, take a picture to post to THIS THREAD. I will critique it when posted. I will make suggestions for bettering the photo. You can also ask questions about the photo. You will retake the photo (so make sure you take a picture of something that you can reshoot), make any corrections and repost. For this lesson, you will probably not have to retake the picture. You will just have to reedit it in your editing program. Be sure to ALWAYS work on a copy of the original. NEVER work directly on the original. We'll keep doing the same thing until you are happy with your photo. This thread will stay open as long as you want it to. When everyone is happy with their pictures, we'll start a different lesson. In some lessons I'm going to add a special Challenge that I want you to work on. You don't have to do the special Challenges, if you don't want to. They will just help with the understanding of your camera. Usually this can be incorporated into the pictures you take for the lesson.

Converting to B&W is very easy to do, but there are so many different ways that it's a matter of what type editing program you have. If you want to take the picture in B&W right out of the camera, you'll need to read your manual and follow the instructions. Each camera is different. This is not the best way to do it, anyway. Once taken in B&W, it can't be converted back to color in a software program unless you're working in RAW and have a RAW converter that will revert to color. I'm going to tell you how I convert to B&W. It is not the best way, but it works well for me. I don't have the best method in my editing program. I'm going to list the different methods that can be used in case you want to google the others for yourself.
Number one is the method I use.

1. Desaturate the colors
2. Convert to greyscale
3. Convert to Lab Mode
4. Channel Mixer - This is the best B&W conversion method.

The simplest way to change a color photo to B&W is to remove (desaturate) the color. I use PhotoShop Elements 5. These instructions are for that program (or any version of PSE). PhotoShop uses close to the same commands. If you use a different program, hunt around until you find the Hue/Saturation adjustment.

1. Load your picture in the editing program. The rest of these instructions will be for PhotoShop Elements.
2. Click Enhance>Color>Hue/Saturation
3. Slide the Saturation slider all the way to the left to -100. Your picture is B&W.
4. Now you can enhance as if it were a color picture.

It's that simple.

Assignment: Take a well composed, properly exposed picture and convert it to B&W. By now you should be able to take well composed and well exposed pictures. I may ask you to retake the picture, if yours isn't well composed and well exposed.

Surprise Challenge: Unfortunately this is for those with dSLRs and lenses that manual focus.
There is a button on the side of your lens that says AF/MF. When in AF, you are in auto focus mode. When in MF, you are in manual focus mode. Try taking your pictures in manual focus. Slide the button to MF, use the focusing ring on the front of your lens to manually focus your picture. With a Canon dSLR, if you press the shutter button half way in MF and turn the focusing ring, the center focus point will light up and beep when focus is achieved. I'm not sure if it works the same for the Nikons and other dSLRs. There are times when you can't use auto focus. It is always good to know how to manually focus your camera. Remember manual focus and manual exposure are not the same thing. You have to manually expose your picture and then manually focus before you shoot.
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Re: Black and White Lesson and a Surprize Challenge

I'm going to do this assignment... I'm charging up my camera battery now (Yes, I let it get too low... bad bad me! I had to go a day without shooting!!) I'm not good at B&W so I will appreciate your comments, etc...

Also, it's Surprise, not Surprize :p
Re: Black and White Lesson and a Surprize Challenge

Thanks. I knew it wasn't right when I looked at it. Should have used spellcheck. I was so tired last night. Katie has the croup and I think I'm getting the same thing.
went out today & took this. I used the B & W setting.

Canon Rebel XT
SS - 1/160
ISO - 100
Focal length - 27mm
Kit lens (18-55mm)

"Sunlight on the birdhouse"
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Georgie, pick one and we'll work on it. This will be like the other lessons in that you post only one picture for critique. Be sure to pick one that you can reshoot.
Monnie, would you prefer that we shoot our picture and edit it to be B&W or would you prefer that we shoot in B&W mode if the camera has one?
I really don't care. If your going to shot in B&W, there's nothing you can do to change the picture unless you use an editing program. I would shot in color and process in an editing program. You have a lot more control over the photo that way. I gave instructions on how to do it with PaintShopPro in the Picture thread that Linda started. If you use PhotoShop or PS Elements, I can post those instructions, too.
Monnie, I picked one. Sorry, I misunderstood about the assignment.

Georgie, To me there's to much sunlight on the birdhouse. There's too much of a glare. You might try upping your contrast. The sunlight has washed everything out. In color this might work, but I don't think it's working in B&W.
Thanks Monnie. I will try to shoot it again when the sun isn't in that spot.
It doesn't look like I am going to be able to do this assignment :(

I am spending all my spare time ATM (except for early in the morning...like now) trying to paint our rental property and a major family drama is also taking up my time. I might try and give myself a couple of hours this weekend to take some pictures and post them if that isn't too late.

I'm also having terrible trouble linking from Shutterfly to my photo editing program and need my son to have the free time to sort that out for me.
Just do what you can. I hope everything works out for you.
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