What makes a good black & white photo?


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Jan 23, 2004
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#1
hey any black n white pros here can tell me or show me what is a really good b n w foto?

thank you:D
 

espn

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#3
Yooo hoooo student, where are you, *paging for student, please report to thread immediately*.
 

Witness

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#4
Stoned said:
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..
 

Stoned

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#6
Witness said:
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.
 

photobum

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#7
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.

 

lsisaxon

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Nov 29, 2004
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#8
laughingstation said:
hey any black n white pros here can tell me or show me what is a really good b n w foto?

thank you:D
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.
 

photobum

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#9
lsisaxon said:
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.
 

benedium

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#10
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'.
 

Jan 23, 2004
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#11
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


 

michhy

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#12
digital cameras in general are bad for black & white photography, simply because the sensors have a narrow dynamic range :confused:
 

buckwheat

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#13
michhy said:
digital cameras in general are bad for black & white photography, simply because the sensors have a narrow dynamic range :confused:
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.
 

zaren

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#15
michhy said:
digital cameras in general are bad for black & white photography, simply because the sensors have a narrow dynamic range :confused:
true....but once in a while i do get b&w shots with my digicam that i quite like.
e.g.
 

photobum

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#17
michhy said:
digital cameras in general are bad for black & white photography, simply because the sensors have a narrow dynamic range :confused:
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.
 

behyx

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#19
buckwheat said:
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. :dunno: :dunno: :dunno:
 

student

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Jul 26, 2004
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#20
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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