Dramatic Monochrome

Waiting - Varina Patel

I spent a good part of yesterday doing black and white conversions with Silver Efex Pro 2 from Nik Software. I’m putting together a talk on Monochrome photography and judging – and I needed a few more examples to help fill out the presentation. It was a lot of fun to go through my portfolio in search of photographs that would work well in Black and White.

Here are a few tips for black and white conversion:

1. Look for photos that are all about tonality, patterns and lines, or form. Black and white lets you take away the distraction of color and let your viewer focus on other elements.

2. Color goes a long way toward setting the mood in a photo – but there are other ways to accomplish the same purpose. Use a long shutter speed for a moodier feel. Capture motion for a dynamic and energetic photograph. Look for curving lines for a sensuous photo – and diagonal lines to show depth and change. Get creative!

3. Watch your highlights and shadows. Most of the time, the best black and white photos have a nice range of tones – all the way from black to white. Don’t let shadows or highlights overwhelm the shot. Check for details in the brightest and darkest areas.

4. For lower contrast scenes, try high or low-key conversions! It’s a lot of fun to play with different styles!


About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.