Shooting For Black & White
All right. We are gonna go back, and we're gonna talk a little bit about black and white because I want you to know my thought process when I'm editing, okay? So, a few things to think about when shooting for black and white. Are there strong shadows, okay, are they interesting? Do you find a hint of light? When we were looking at all of these locations that I've been shooting in, you'll see pockets of light coming in. Okay, those are visually appealing, those are visually interesting. Is there a large tonal range from highlights to shadows? Think about it this way, if you're photographing a family, they're in white pants, and they have a baby in a white swaddle. And there's a white room and a white couch, do you think it's gonna be meant to be in black and white? Probably not, okay? You've probably, and I've done this too, you convert your image to black and white, and you're like, "Hm, seems off to me." It's probably because there's not a large tonal range, okay, in black and white i...
magery. Ask yourself if a photo has to be in color to tell the story, okay? Some images actually need to be in color, or else you're Losing part of the story. Think about the mood of the image. We talked about this a little bit earlier in the class. Don't force a moody image, okay? Directional light is great for black and white images, as well as fall-off light. We talked about that fall-off light because you're naturally getting those tonal ranges between highlights and shadows. The relationship, and when it's okay to convert to black and white, or just shoot for black and white is extremely important, okay? You can expose for the highlights, and the shadows will naturally fall, okay? As long as you're exposing for the highlights, then its shadows will fall, and that's okay. When we looked at that image earlier, when the mom was towards the window, okay, that's something that would be beautiful in black and white because the information on the front where the highlights were, that was the important information. I exposed that properly in color, and then the shadows were gonna fall. And that was the information that wasn't as important to tell the story. Okay, all right. So the moods of black and white imagery. Okay, bright and happy, you know, I love bright and happy black and white images. That mom and the baby on the bed when he was laughing, or she was laughing, happy, right? That's not a moody black and white image, but it contained highlights and shadows. It had a large tonal range, okay? Moody and dark, I love moody and dark too. And that happens organically, it does not happen post processing, okay? And I'm gonna show you that on here I shot an image, you're gonna be surprised with some of these images. When I was shooting this live shoot that you guys just saw, I was purposely shooting in certain ways for teaching purposes only. This isn't how I would always shoot the whole session. Okay, and I'll talk about that, but I wanted to show you some techniques that you can actually walk away with for when you are presented with difficult situations. High key, right, a high key image is gonna be full of light tones, but should still have that full tonal range running from, you know, black to white, okay? The image will be skewed towards the lighter tones, though, in those high key black and whites. Okay, often these types of images, they appear to be a lighter, happier mood, right? Okay, the low key images, same thing. Low key images are often read as moody and dramatic-ish, you know, they kind of just seem darker. Still have a full tonal range, though, okay? Just remember, neither of these types of images should be, or will be achieved by overexposure or underexposure, okay? Same thing can go. You can't just overexpose a dark room, and expect it to be light, and bright, and happy. It's not gonna happen, because what's gonna happen is you're gonna brighten all the shadows, and you're gonna lose that full tonal range, okay? It's gonna be washed out, all right, and it's gonna lack contrast. You need contrast with black and whites. Finally, removing color distraction can create a sense of, it's like nostalgia, right? There's something about a really good black and white image that feels timeless, right, and beautiful? So if you feel like an image might be that way, then create it that way. There's some images of Dan that I took on the couch where there was one tiny hihglight, everything else was midtones and shadows. And you'll see how this turns into black and white, it's gorgeous. But I did it on purpose, okay? When you're shooting, you need to think about black and white. Here are some examples, okay, play with your black and whites and find your style. I totally play around with black and white still because I'm always changing, you know, we're always evolving, okay? I'm not stuck in my ways, I'm open to suggestions. I'm opening to learning more, I want to learn more all the time. So I'm always playing to see what works for me. Each session might have a different feel to it, and I might edit one session differently than another, okay? Some images I like bright and airy, and some I love deeper, okay? These are three different versions of black and white. That's the light and bright area that just happened to be, this is my pure black and white action, which is in my beautiful light set. And I use my pure black and white pretty much on everything that is illuminated brightly and kind of happily, for lack of a better word. It's clean, it's wonderful for babies' skin tones. It doesn't mess with the highlights too much, so it doesn't pull that out of the skin. And I kept the warmth in the slider. We're gonna talk about, you can actually change your black and white images in Lightroom by playing with that warm and cool slider. You can affect skin tones that way, versus totally changing your exposure. Okay, and I'm gonna show you how to do that in Lightroom. These are all completely different moods, okay? I could that with this image because it was illuminated enough for me to play with this. I don't recommend doing these type, you know, but when you're learning try. Try it with a more matte finish, and some grain, and some grit. This has higher contrast. For instance, in Lightroom this image, I pulled up the clarity slider, okay? Now, for something like this, what I would do is brush tool the clarity off of her face. And CreativeLive does have a Lightroom class, a full Lightroom class, I'm not gonna pretend to be the guru of Lightroom, this is just what I do, okay? If you're looking to be a guru in Lightroom, CreativeLive does have a Lightroom class, and I would recommend taking it. But I just want you to know that there are different options for black and white images.