Weekly theme 21st January 2019 - Black and white

(Helen Hooker) #1

Hello everyone! I hope your week has got off to a good start.

We’re onto a technique based theme this week; one which will give you complete freedom of subject, but with a common look.

This week’s theme is Black and white

This is a theme we’ve used a couple of times before, largely because it’s such a classic look. Of course, in early days photographers had no choice but to shoot in black and white. Then colour film became cheaper and more easily available and suddenly it was possible to capture the world around us as we actually saw it. Logic would suggest that from that point black and white’s days would be numbered. After all, we don’t see in monochrome, so why would we want to take photos in this archaic format? As we all know, human beings aren’t predictable creatures and, come what may, black and white still retains a popularity, even today.

So what should you photograph for our black and white theme? Frankly - anything you like!

Black and white can be a great way to remove distractions from photos. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the frustrations of that lone person in a red T-shirt who wanders nonchalantly through the back of your shot! I find this particularly useful for street photography, where you rarely have control over the backdrop. In this shot, by using a large aperture and converting to monochrome I’ve made it clear who I want my viewer to focus on.

Sometimes black and white can be used to give a nostalgic feel. Here Darius Soodmand’s pianist draws us back in time, and it feels as though this photo could have been taken decades ago.

It’s worth considering black and white for strong, graphic images. Removing colour simplifies the overall composition and enhances the lines. In this picture of the courtyard at the British Museum by Grant Ritchie our eyes are drawn to the stark lines of the structure, and the more subtle shadow lines on the ground.

So how should you create your black and white image for the theme?

Most cameras have a monochrome mode, although with varying degrees of success. Some manufacturers (Fuji for instance) quite rightly pride themselves on the authenticity of their monochrome film simulation modes. However, for many the mode simply removes the colour from the image. This will often result in a rather lifeless shot, lacking in contrast.

By all means try your camera’s mono mode, but the best way to create monochrome images is in post-processing. Whether you use Photoshop, Lightroom, Luminar or anything else, they all have great black and white conversion tools. These allow you full control over your pictures, allowing you to determine the contrast, texture etc. Another great choice is Silver Efex Pro, a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop.

But perhaps you shoot with your smartphone? No problem - there are plenty of choices there too! A favourite of mine is Snapseed, but there are oodles of other mobile apps which offer similar creative control.

So there are a few ideas for you. It’s entirely up to you what subject you choose to photograph - the end result just needs to be in monochrome. Now it’s your turn to go out and have fun - happy shooting!

How to participate:

  • Please submit your photo by midnight GMT on Sunday 27th January
  • To submit a photo, hit the Reply button below and upload your image(s). Please limit each post to one image.
  • Please try to also share your picture on your page over the main Photoblog platform and encourage others to visit the theme thread to participate and vote.
  • To vote, click the :heart: heart icon.
  • If you post your picture early in the week don’t forget to pop back to see what others have shared and to cast your votes!

Winner of the last theme

We had a fabulous variety of portraits submitted for last week’s theme, but out winning entry was this adorable photo by @missinterpretations. Congratulations Rachel!

(Rachel The Introvert) #2

Wow I’m so honored!! Thank you so much :heart:️ I’m so excited to participate in this next one​:heart_eyes:

(Russell Smith) #3

I love the color version of this image but in black and white I love the way the shell stands out . Congrats @missinterpretations

(L A Magee) #4

This is one of my all time favorite photographs of our little guy!!! The B&W just makes look amazing & classic.

(Pete) #5

(Berckmans Peter) #6

Industrial sites work very well in B&W

(Can G) #7

I’m chiming in with a picture of the cloister of the Monastery Bebenhausen, near Tübingen in Germany. It’s a beautiful old monastery which is serving as a museum nowadays. The light was just about right and shining through the window openings of the cloister, so I could take the following picture. It was just screaming for a B&W conversion :slight_smile:

(Heidi Egerman) #8

Boise River in winter. Cold and calm.

Black and White

(Bethany Plonski) #9

(Lakshmi Bhat) #10


(Kenny H) #11

I’m a sucker for vintage cars Pete! Love this.

(Kenny H) #12

Very well done! Love the shot.

(Kenny H) #13

Can’t believe I missed this category. I was away for a bit.! Original post came up blank a few minutes ago. Trying again…

(Heidi Egerman) #14

This was the very first image I ever posted on Photoblog.com back in January 2017. It appears I was using Nix Collection way back then to convert this to black and white. I’ve always been rather fond of this image and I love how you are able to control the light in a still life environment. This is definitely a low-key image.

(D Vgz) #15

Converted this picture to black and white, and I think I like it better this way. A very minimalistic picture, but liked it :slight_smile:

(Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue) #16


(Rachel The Introvert) #17

I like this!! Very glad you decided to try again :blush:

(Rachel The Introvert) #18

This is a special image to me - I took it shortly after my younger sister passed away from cancer at 19. We were so close and her death rocked the core of my life. I titled this one

“I was never ready to let you go”

There was something so melancholy about the florets flying away in the wind from the dandelion I was holding. I caught this one and used my handy powershot at the time to take a close up. I’ve always had it in black and white. It just fit the mood of her memory, nostalgia, never wanting to let go of that tiny flower which in fact stood for my sister💔

(Camellia) #19

He looks wonderful in b&w or color! :slight_smile:

(Lisa Britton) #20

This is a basic black & white photo that I edited into black & white. It’s a very simple, yet classic photo.