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B&W - in camera or in photoshop

FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Still Life, B/W & Experimental Talk
Thread started 17 Sep 2010 (Friday) 15:02   
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Createsean
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I really love B&W photography and when I had my film SLR I shot primarily in B&W but that was years ago. In any case I bought a new Canon 550D this week and am going to start shooting in B&W again but am wondering if it is best to shoot in B&W or shoot in color and change to B&W using photoshop.

Advice?

Post #1, Sep 17, 2010 15:02:30


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Flores
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hard call. the nice thing about doing it in photoshop is that you still have a color image. on the other hand, if you aren't going to want color at all, letting the camera do the work makes sense.

Post #2, Sep 17, 2010 15:34:16




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exwintech
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Createsean - I'll go with Flores on this. If you use the options in the camera for B&W - they're quite limited.

If you get the best colour image you can, as Flores says, you do have the colour version to show folk who "prefer colour shots".

If you do camera JPEG, it's a 'lossy' format, so convert that to PSD or TIFF (lossless) - before working on it.

However, you're better to do RAW, trim-up the WB, etc, then save to TIFF. If you do 16-bit TIFF it leaves you more options in Photoshop, but 8-bit is quite usable.

I'm using Photoshop 7 (in Wine in Linux) - but the later CS versions will probably have even more options-choices.

You can use Channel Mixer, Levels and Curves. All 3 can address the RGB channels separately.

You might begin with Channel Mixer. Open that and in the dialog (bottom left in PS 7) - there's a check-box marked Monochrome. Tick that - and you can now use the sliders to adjust the R-G-B Channels separately.

You can get it "nearly right" - Save, then use Levels and Curves to fine-tune the midrange, shadows, depth, so on. You can do an interim Save between Tools, and go back to say, Channel Mixer, for more tweaking.

At any point where the image is "about right", or you like it, but also might like to try more options - you can do a 'Save As" - filename_1.tiff, filename_2.tiff, so on.

If you Google, there are many Tutorials on doing this, available.


Gimp users might note - there is now a Gimp Plugin with many, many, very detailed functions for image processing. G'MIC has 15 Sections, each with a list of options, many dialogs with sliders, etc, using, so far, 193 Filters. Also has Effects - mirror image, put image on sides of a 3D cube, and more.

It's available for Gimp in Windows 32-bit, Mac-Intel 32-bit (Leopard or Snow Leopard), and Linux 32 and 64 bit.

Google the G'MIC Site for info and shots of what it does.

Regards, Dave.

Post #3, Sep 17, 2010 17:36:46 as a reply to Flores's post 2 hours earlier.




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Spacemunkie
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I'd always shoot colour. So much can be done to the b&w conversion by tweaking your colour channels - you can drastically alter the image very quickly

I can thoroughly recommend Nik Silver Efex Pro for b&w processing as well. Pricey but has loads to offer anyone who is serious about b&w :)

Post #4, Sep 18, 2010 17:51:18 as a reply to exwintech's post 1 day earlier.


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RDKirk
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Createsean wrote in post #10928208external link
I really love B&W photography and when I had my film SLR I shot primarily in B&W but that was years ago. In any case I bought a new Canon 550D this week and am going to start shooting in B&W again but am wondering if it is best to shoot in B&W or shoot in color and change to B&W using photoshop.

Advice?

First: Shoot RAW. You can set the camera to monochrome and then see the image in monochrome on the LCD. But shoot in RAW to retain the color information.

Second: By retaining the color information, in Photoshop you can alter the spectrum relationship the same way you would by using color filters over the camera with BW film...but with much greater flexibility.

Post #5, Sep 18, 2010 18:28:48




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Createsean
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Lots of advice to shoot RAW. I'm thinking I'll use the Raw & Jpeg mode, but now I need to learn how to edit in RAW - any recommended tutorials? I'm using Photoshop BTW.

Post #6, Sep 18, 2010 18:37:29


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treck_dialect
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i used to shoot b&w in-cam before and to my untrained eye, the pictures appeared "muddy" and almost appeared 2d as opposed to converting in PP. used a 400d btw.

Post #7, Sep 19, 2010 09:15:39


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Flores
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you don't really edit 'in raw', your image software will derive an image from the raw file. any changes you make will be saved into a different file format.

Post #8, Sep 19, 2010 12:01:33




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710 ­ Studio
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Didn't read all of the replies, so sorry if I'm repeating:

What I would do is shoot in color - that way, if the shot looks great in color, I have that option at my fingers. Black & white settings in Photoshop are great! So many ways to make the smallest of changes in Photoshop, if needed. Shooting B&W in camera really narrows down your options. Anyway, that's my 2-cents in a nutshell.

Post #9, Sep 27, 2010 20:15:31


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telephoto500
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shoot in raw, lets you recover from over and under exposure better as it contains more information. that being said, raw is in color, therefore, shoot in color.

Post #10, Sep 28, 2010 14:06:51




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wizcreations
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+1 for Always shoot color, convert later. If you're shooting in RAW it doesn't matter though because your camera's LCD will show you B&W but the RAW file maintains all color information.

Post #11, Sep 28, 2010 19:31:09


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chauncey
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Funny that you should ask because I just got a recent purchase from amazon http://www.amazon.com ...TF8&qid=1287270936&​sr=1-5external link
It has a lot of conversion hints for different types of photographs.

Post #12, Oct 16, 2010 18:17:11 as a reply to wizcreations's post 17 days earlier.


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uOpt
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You should always shoot in color. The reason is that the better image processing programs offer you different ways of deciding which color becomes which shade of grey. Even the base gimp with no new plugins has 3 different base options. I don't even want to know how many options that new plugin by the Greystoration guys has.

IMAGE: http://www.cons.org/tmp/grey.gif

Post #13, Oct 16, 2010 18:42:15


My imagine composition sucks. I need a heavier lens.

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uOpt
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exwintech wrote in post #10929030external link
Gimp users might note - there is now a Gimp Plugin with many, many, very detailed functions for image processing. G'MIC has 15 Sections, each with a list of options, many dialogs with sliders, etc, using, so far, 193 Filters. Also has Effects - mirror image, put image on sides of a 3D cube, and more.

It's available for Gimp in Windows 32-bit, Mac-Intel 32-bit (Leopard or Snow Leopard), and Linux 32 and 64 bit.

Google the G'MIC Site for info and shots of what it does.

Regards, Dave.

Muhahaha. I thought that Greystoration was blowing everything Photoshop has to offer out of the water, but apparently these guys were just warming up. Thanks a lot, I don't know how I missed this.

Just the new unsharp mask with more parameters and better preview rocks. Quite a few more B&W options in there, too.

Post #14, Oct 16, 2010 19:23:21


My imagine composition sucks. I need a heavier lens.

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ChrisSearle
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Always shoot in RAW, yes of course but occasionally a camera has a nice ( maybe slightly quirky) BW conversion algorithm, like the Ricoh GRD1. Its difficult to create the grittiness of this without a lot of faffing around in LR or PS.

Post #15, Feb 10, 2012 03:40:03 as a reply to uOpt's post over 1 year earlier.


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