Exercise: Black and white (DPP)

Choose a subject, lighting condition or picture situation that you think may look better in black and white rather than in regular colour. Compose and expose for the black and white version that you will later process. You should find that you need to deal with rather different concerns, paying attention to shape and volume.

Process the image for black and white, and note what effect shooting in black and white had on my choices of subject, framing, the details of composition and exposure.

The OCA handbook mentions that if your camera allows a monochrome setting, it may be helpful to use. My Nikon does provide this function, but I want to shoot in colour as I feel this would be a shortcut, and I may not benefit from the point of the exercise.

For black and white

I saw this bike as a great opportunity to experiment with black and white. The black of the leather and the chrome should contrast well together when in black and white, you can already see the effect in the colour picture to some extent. I felt the need to pay attention to the parts of the bike rather than the bike as a whole object. I used an unusual camera angel to add some creativity and purposely left out the back of the bike (the wheel mainly)

For black and white2

Once processed into black and white, I upped the contrast a fair bit to really enhance the black vs chrome.

Perhaps I should have used an example that contained more colour to begin with , as the only real colour here is the pedestrians to the top right of the image. With this in mind I took another shot…..

From one extreme to the other, I took a photo full of colours:

I wanted to experiment with the techniques I should be using/elements i should be aware of while shooting multiple colours with the idea of turning into black and white. The motorcycle was pretty self explanatory and I knew it could convert very easily.


I paid attention to the tier positioning of the plant pots, as I feel this would add a nice element when processing to black and white. I was aware of trying to make all the colours as vivid as possible, as this will give multiple tones when black and white.

FLowers bw

I had to experiment a lot with the hue levels, as altering each individual colour altered the picture quite drastically and in many different areas. I ended on this version as I think it has enough contrast within the flowers, and also has an acceptable variety of tones. The only area that could use a tweak is the yellow tulips – they appear to be almost inverted, appearing very grey. This is most likely because the original colour image shows the yellow to be very saturated and bright. It’s easily corrected by lowering the yellow level in photoshop.

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