If you are new to Photodoto start here: Start

Weekend assignment July 14, 2006: Black and white

Black and white photos appeal to people for many different reasons. For some, it is the simplicity and elegance that black and white can lend to a photo. For others, the classic, timeless look. But whatever the reason, black and white is definitely the right treatment for many photographs. Have a look at the black and white conversion techniques I discussed this week and try your hand at it. Notice how different techniques and settings yield very different images. Without the assistance (or distraction) of color, you’ll notice that your photos take on a completely different feel. When you’ve got something you like, share it with the rest of us in the Photodoto discussion group. And please share what conversion technique you used.

John Watson

John is the original founder of Photodoto, but after running it for 4 years he had to focus on different things. If you're interested in what John has been up to recently, you can check is personal blog or browse his photo blog.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

  • I specialize in Hand Tinting Black and White Photo Art the “Classic way”, I use my own 2 zone technique to create my Black and White Photo Art. My Photos are signed and original. I have been in the field over 25 years.

  • True Photography consist of two key zones. (Zone A covers subject to film), better known as a negative, ( Zone B covers film to Print), other wise known as a positive. In true photography one can not exist with the other. Digital photography merely records the scene in pixel format, it lacks the required zones which are needed to create a true positive print.
    I have added a Zone C to my Black and White Photo Art, this zone determines where colors on the final Black and White print. This Technique allows full control of contrast, composition, and balance of each individual photo.
    My Hand coloring Techniques elevates the viewer chromatic thresholds. Color contrast can be easily manipulated to suit artist mood
    or expressions simultaneously. I can enhance visual differences between two areas of different luminance or illumination.
    I try to highlight the obvious positive in each Photo, I also attempt to accentuate the unseen Beauties of our world. Thanks, Artfully Yours, Pacco J Pompei.

  • My 2 Zone Technique in Theory.
    Based on the concept of visual change in negative exposure of one stop ( a factor 2x). This change in tone is referred to as a zone in
    Black and White photography. Most prints contain about 9 zones. The 18 % reflectance gray card responds to zone V (5). In the Munsell system of color notation, middle value of 5 has a reflectance of approximately 18 %.
    I print all of my Black and White Photos in the range of zone 3 to zone 8, it give me 5 zones to Hand color in the final print. Only the neutral colors ( Blacks , Grays, and Whites), have no hue and zero chroma.
    In my Prints I add color to predetermined points of interest in the fore ground , middle ground, and back ground. I will also add colors to the bottom, in the middle and on the top of each print. This enhances the third dimension and gives the print some what of a fourth dimension. The colors have a tendency to levitate and float.
    I use only color film to create my Black and White Photo Art. Color films have three layers and Black and White Film have only two
    layers. I find that color films record the true mood of each scene as it really is. Reds are red, blues are blue, and greens are green.
    Black and white films records the tones and not the hues and the chroma of each scene as it exist. I use my color prints to aide in my color balancing process Hand tinting each black and white print.
    I have a simple formula that I created, to achieve my color balance and color contrast of each final print. The foreground = A, middle = B, back =
    C. The bottom = 1, middle = 2, and top = 3. I can place my hues of color in one of the cubes to create unimaginable illusions of Grandeur.