The Challenge of Shooting in Black & White

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

A few years ago Mark wrote a post about his experience with the 5-day Black & White Challenge; You can read it here. Ever since then, it’s convinced me that shooting black  & white is a great way to get out of a photographic rut…

One of the things that I like to do to get myself out of a rut is to shoot photographs, especially portraits, in direct monochrome mode. It doesn’t have to be all of the images that you make during a session; maybe just a few.

If you worry about what happens if you change your mind later and want that original in color? Most cameras have a RAW+JPEG option that lets you capture a monochrome (JPEG) and color (RAW) file at the same time, while displaying a black & white image in the EVF and LCD. And that’s what I did when making the portrait of Sarah Dean at left.

If you prefer to capture images in color and convert to monochrome later in the digital darkroom that’s a good idea too. That’s one of the reasons I like the RAW+JPEG options. All all of my favorite portrait retouching tools, such as Imagenomic’s’ Portraiture, work better with color files because there’s so many more colors to work with.

P is for Prime. The camera used for my retro portrait of Sarah Dean was a Panasonic Lumix GH4 with one of my favorite lenses to use in my home studio, the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 attached. Exposure when shooting with Dynalight Baja B4 battery-powered monolights was 1/125 sec at f/7.1 and ISO 200.

Note: Favorite lenses will be the topic of a first video podcast with Barry Staver. Expect to hear more about that lens then. We’re recording the podcast tomorrow morning, so look for the video real soon now.Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.13.43 AM



If you’re interested in shooting portraits, please pick up a copy of “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from your favorite book or camera stores as well as, where your purchase helps this blog.