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Contemplating Black & White


“I shoot and edit in color. I start by adjusting details. When I’m happy with the color version, I convert to black-and-white and then just tweak the contrast a bit.”


Swedish iPhoneographer Mia Camp explains why the monochrome palette appeals to her: “I convert to black-and-white to strip the image of distractions and bring out the essential—my images tell my story. Light, texture, color and shape are the backbone of my language.” Mia shares, “In my dreams, I’m this ever-exploring, living-on-the-edge kind of photographer, traveling to cool places and meeting interesting people. But, in real life, I’m an introverted observer, using mobile photography to document my backyard adventures.” Her processing path is what she calls quite “simple.” It usually includes black-and-white presets or filters that bring out the details and enhance the mood of her images.


While composition is important in all photography, it’s absolutely critical in black-and-white photography. Without the use of color to inform or direct the viewer, you must rely on contrast, negative space, lines and textures to achieve something visually pleasing.”


Photographer Robert X. Jones finds that the landscapes he visits and often shoots for his day job as a wildlife biologist have a forlorn beauty about them, and he looks forward to working in these environments. His approach is unique in that he likes to take his time in between shooting and editing. Says Robert, “My creative process involves taking the photos, downloading them to my computer and then letting them sit there for weeks, maybe months. When I get around to viewing them, I feel like I’m looking at work shot by someone else. The memory of shooting has faded a bit and this affords me a fresh take on the images.” As for how he approaches his conversion, Robert adds, “After selecting a few shots, I always start with basic adjustments—cropping, brightness, contrast—and then convert to black-and-white. After that, I usually do additional adjustments and a little noise reduction. I may stop there, but if I want something more moody, I’ll use a diffusion filter.”

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