It dawned on me as I was driving to lunch today that B&W is about the most creative thing that I do when it comes to photography. It's creative because there's so much interpretation as well as presentation... and I'm not that creative.
For me, it's the probably the medium in which I get to express myself the most. That is to say, I get to break the most rules. When we learn photography we're taught a mess of rules. Rules such as "don't blow your highlights", "don't lose your darks", "use a proper shutter speed to prevent motion blur", blah blah blah.
I break all of those rules in B&W. And more. Why? Because I can.
Of course just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it. The better answer is that I'm trying to convey a particular "message" per se with my B&W photography. And that interpretation is my license to basically do whatever the hell I want. As often as I say "there's no wrong answer" with photography, there is no facet of photography I can think of where this saying applies more.
And I'm not pulling this out of my butt, really. If you think about it, even colorblind people see colors they just can't differentiate reds and greens. It's not like they're devoid of all cones in their retina. So assuming everyone sees in color and that no one sees in black and white, who's to say what's right when it comes to B&W conversion?
It simply boils down to interpretation. Here's a great site that explores the interpretation of landscapes via B&W.
So I've decided to cover B&W in a one-day workshop on Saturday February 26th to go over all the goodies below:
Shooting for contrast
-Strobe vs. continuous/ambient and getting the contrast you need from each
-Hair/skin consideration in conversion
B&W conversion tools in Photoshop
Interpretation: What is your message?
-B&W tonal range
-Curves for contrast
-Tools for generating contrast (contrast slider, gradient map, curves, levels, etc.)
-Masking to retain your message
-Skin tones/dynamic range across skin
-Dynamic range/Blown highlight/lost shadows what do you want your audience to focus on
-Bit depth and the "feel" of the image
-Referencing the histogram
Film vs. digital tonality: Differences in how highlights and shadows are captured and recorded
One of the things we'll be doing is reviewing my archive of B&W images to glean different techniques to achieve either the same results or different results.
And of course the workshop will heavily involve shooting because if you don't shoot for contrast, dynamic range, and B&W then your ultimate conversion might fall short of your expectations.
Here's my earlier blog post about B&W and interpretation :)
Date: Saturday February 26, 2011
L U C I M A Studio
2620 Concord Ave. STE 120
Alhambra, CA 91803
-Lunch is included.
-Since good models are paramount to getting "the shot" we'll provide experienced agency-represented models for the workshop.
-Photographers will be learning/shooting on-the-fly. I'm not a fan of lectures but rather a constant dialogue and sharing of knowledge. That also means, you're not paying to watch me shoot... you'll be doing most of the shooting!
-I will cap the attendance at 9.
-One-on-one time with models is critical to the learning process. At the workshop you'll have plenty of time to work with models. There will be at most 2-3 photographers per model.
-You'll be shooting with all the studio gear including the AlienBees system with all the light modifiers and the RadioPopper JrX system. Studio is privately owned, indoors with A/C and heat, plenty of white wall space and portable set walls/props, and plenty of parking.
Cost to attend: $395
Please message/email for registration!