Sometimes a location screams out for black and white images
Sometimes a location just screams out for black and white images.
Take Paris for example. You can’t really make a bad image in Paris, but the city cries out for black and white. There’s so much history there and combined with the classic ‘Parisian’ architecture, you start seeing in black and white. You can’t help it.
Whether you’re walking along the banks of the Seine, or strolling through one of the many streets, the texture and feeling of the city almost demands you set your camera to black and white.
If you’re capturing RAW images though, your camera will capture what it sees. It won’t capture black and white images. So how do you capture black and white images while shooting in RAW mode? Simply change your camera to capture both a RAW file and a black and white JPEG file.
Advantages of capturing both RAW plus JPEG
- Having the RAW file means you can develop the file later and still have full control over the final image;
- Having a black and white JPEG means you can transfer the image to your mobile device of choice and upload it to social media after some basic adjustments in your favourite software;
- When you capture in RAW plus JPEG, the rear LCD display on your camera will show the JPEG file. In other words you will be looking at a black and white image on the back of the camera, which helps you to see in black and white￼
Disadvantage of capturing both RAW plus JPEG
The only reall disadvantage of capturing both a RAW file and a black and white JPEG file is the space the extra file takes up. Cards are so cheap now though that whether your camera uses Compact Flash (CF) or Secure Digital (SD), you can buy large capacity cards at very reasonable prices. That means the cost of the extra storage is really negligible.
Why you should shoot in black and white
One of the best reasons to shoot black and white images, or at least RAW plus black and white JPEG, is that you see the image in black and white on the back of your camera. You start to see how highlights and shadows affect the tones within your image. When you start seeing those tones, you start to interpret the light around you and become better at pre-visualising what your image is going to look like before you even make it.
Images of iconic locations or objects / buildings can also look quite different when captured in black and white.
Seeing light differently
Learning to see in black and white really is beneficial when you’re a photographer. You begin to look at light differently. You start to think about light and shadow; about subtle differences in the shadows; you begin to identify what will be visually pleasing before even raising the camera to your eye.
Give it a try. Go and shoot some black and white images. Feel free to share them in the comments below.