Black & White for Digital Cameras at “Shooting the West”

At Shooting the West

I was fortunate enough to attend “Shooting the West Photography Symposium” again this year and take a workshop offered by Mark Citret on creating B&W utilizing Lightroom for global adjustments and then PS for individual or spot work.
In the past I usually thought about my subject in greyscale and then shot as I imagined the final to be in my mind. I would post process in greyscale, then burn or dodge in layers/curves to bring the grey tones into the zones I desired. Finally, I would import into LR for final adjustments of blacks, whites, shadows/highlights and for any toning or sharpening I wished to add.

Mark’s technique is exactly the opposite and one I find to be interesting (as well as useful) evolving from many of the simple practices we used with film.

Since Mark starts with LR, one of the initial global adjustments he makes is toning. By viewing the saturation of each color, he sees which parts of the original will be effected by that color. He then switches to B&W under tones and adjust each color until he achieves his desired effect.

We used to use different color filters in B&W film to enhance different tones. Yellow was a primary for darker skies, letting in more blues and refracting yellows. Orange was great for smoother/even skin tones.
Mark’s style gives the advantage of applying a different color filter to each individual part of an image (instead of settling for a single filter) allowing one to lighten or darken just the reds, then the yellows, greens, blues, etc. For monochrome work this lets one darken skies to almost black and still darken highlights affected by yellows or oranges with detail, something which was harder to do in the darkroom after shooting with a single colored filter.
He then makes his lens profile adjustments and exports to PS to apply any gradients or finite dark/light areas to attract the eye. Finally he sends back to LR to be cataloged and saved as a tiff file.

This is the beauty of post processing. You find a style that works for you, then someone shows you a different technique and you find it works for images that your original style left a little empty. Then you work with combining various styles and techniques and come up with something new again. The creative process just goes on and on.


Winnemucca - Nevada - stair landing - hotel - basque - shooting the west - photography symposiums - black & white - monochrome

Winnemucca - Nevada - sign - hotel - basque - shooting the west - photography symposiums - black & white - monochrome

Winnemucca - Nevada - sign - hotel - basque - shooting the west - photography symposiums - black & white - monochrome

Shooting the West Photography Symposium is scheduled for April 25- May 1, 2016 at the Winnemucca Convention Center.

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