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Thread: What makes a good black & white photo?

  1. #1

    Default What makes a good black & white photo?

    hey any black n white pros here can tell me or show me what is a really good b n w foto?

    thank you

  2. #2

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Personally, I believe a full range of tones are important.
    My Personal Folio (of random events and things)

  3. #3
    Deregistered
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    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Yooo hoooo student, where are you, *paging for student, please report to thread immediately*.

  4. #4

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoned
    Personally, I believe a full range of tones are important.
    no pun intended ... but a full range of tones may make ya shot lack in contrast and look flat imho?

    i tink monos have a timeless feel to them..... capture tt nicely, and its a nice black and white to me...

    cheerios..

  5. #5

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    To me, contrast is very important.
    And so does the 'quality of black'.

  6. #6

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Witness
    no pun intended ... but a full range of tones may make ya shot lack in contrast and look flat imho?

    i tink monos have a timeless feel to them..... capture tt nicely, and its a nice black and white to me...

    cheerios..
    Hmm, what I mean is that I think it's important to have pure black, pure white and a nice range of greys in between. That's what I prefer at least.
    My Personal Folio (of random events and things)

  7. #7

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Of course, the print quality of an image is of utmost importance. But equally significant is the viewer must accepts the image as its own fact, and responds emotionally and aesthetically. It is safe to assume that no two individuals see the world around them in the same way.

    Look at the image below and tell me what you see? I am sure each and every of your answers are different in some ways.

    Last edited by photobum; 5th February 2006 at 11:41 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Quote Originally Posted by laughingstation
    hey any black n white pros here can tell me or show me what is a really good b n w foto?

    thank you
    As long as it can bring you into the emotion of the moment the shot is captured, it is a good photo. If you are referring to the technical aspects, it may be the best print, may have the best tonal range etc but if it doesn't tell the story it is intended to, it is still not a good photograph.

  9. #9

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon
    As long as it can bring you into the emotion of the moment the shot is captured, it is a good photo.
    Exactly! My explaination above simplified.

  10. #10

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Think you can safely say if you like it after looking at it over and over again,
    then it's a good photo. In advertising, we call it an 'overnight test'.

  11. #11

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Here are two photos i took using a dslr, converted to black and white using greyscale function. Some how it just must appeal as much as i want it to. would anyone like to comment what is wrong with them? thank you


    Last edited by laughingstation; 6th February 2006 at 01:07 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    digital cameras in general are bad for black & white photography, simply because the sensors have a narrow dynamic range

  13. #13

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Quote Originally Posted by michhy
    digital cameras in general are bad for black & white photography, simply because the sensors have a narrow dynamic range
    Exactly... the pic posted by photoburn above is a good example... too "perfect".

    Although, there is a tutorial by a guy on the web (can't remember his name - ross myer, or something like that???) that actually does get some good results.

    My opinion on the topic is that you have to have BLACK and WHITE. Contrast has to be there.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    Yooo hoooo student, where are you, *paging for student, please report to thread immediately*.
    Haha, you s h i t stirrer you...

  15. #15

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Quote Originally Posted by michhy
    digital cameras in general are bad for black & white photography, simply because the sensors have a narrow dynamic range
    true....but once in a while i do get b&w shots with my digicam that i quite like.
    e.g.

  16. #16
    jcryan55
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    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    For some good B&W shots, try seeing in www.ecircleoflight.org

  17. #17

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Quote Originally Posted by michhy
    digital cameras in general are bad for black & white photography, simply because the sensors have a narrow dynamic range
    The image of the elderly Indian war veteran was shot with a Phase One digital back on a Hasselblad. Some digital capturing devices do have a wide dynamic range.

  18. #18

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    found it... greg gorman's step by step is the best that I have used.

    http://www.gormanphotography.com/bw_conversion.pdf

  19. #19

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Quote Originally Posted by buckwheat
    found it... greg gorman's step by step is the best that I have used.

    http://www.gormanphotography.com/bw_conversion.pdf
    It looks really comprehensive, tried for the past 30mins, and i'm still stuck at point 12.
    "12. IN THE ADJUSTMENT LAYERS PALETTE CHOOSE SOLID COLOR "

    Don't know it's because of my limited PS knowledge? Or i simply don't understand what is he talking about.

  20. #20

    Default Re: what makes a good black & white photo

    Firstly I am not a pro, nor do I consider myself "good". But I am passionate about B&W photography.

    To me a good B&W photograph is a photograph that conveys what the photographer intends to, and hopefully the viewer feels the same way! But all in white and black, of course!

    I personally do not think that a black & white photograph must have the blackest black and whitest white, with all gradations of tones in between. This kind of full range tones is a photograph to show what good tones are, but they are not the "essentials" to a "good" B&W photograph which should have as its basis in the content, aas ain all imagery.

    A B&W can have extremes such as lithographic style, where there is only blacks and whites, making for very graphic shapes and patterns.

    Or it can have a very narrow range of contrast such as a woods in misty morning, with no blacks and whites.

    But of course, the majority of B&W photos will have tones and contrast somewhere like this picture of "Two Italian Girls"



    BTW, this image was taken with the Olympus E1. Color image was changed to B&W in Channels Mixer, adjusted with curves, with dodging and burning as required in certain places.

    Although my personal preference is for traditional B&W, I have absolutely no problem with using the digital camera to make B&W pictures. I think they can be very nice, such as the one shown by Zaren. But a digital B&W will have different characteristics from a traditional B&W. What one prefers is another matter.

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