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Mastering the Classic Black and White

Imran Ahmad and Alex Soh are both seasoned Nikon photographers, having both traversed the world and explored the different mediums of photography, they have become well acquainted in the art of capturing black and white imagery. Here they share some helpful tips and techniques to master this art form.

Also known as monochrome photography, black and white photography is where images have only two hues. It pushes photographers to think beyond colour and explore an environment’s shapes, textures, and tones for a more intriguing image.

Architecture or portraiture shots are great for shooting in black and white. Fine detail or textures such as lines and shapes can help give your black and white shots depth and interest. Black and white photos rely on contrast, which is the difference between the bright and dark areas in the image. Therefore, lighting can play a crucial role in how the shot turns out. Look out for shadows and bright lights that can help create a good contrast in your image.

To get an idea of how different shapes, textures and tones affects your shot while capturing pictures in black and white, activate the Live View mode of your Nikon DSLR, after adjusting the Picture Control setting to Monochrome.

Gain more creative control when you edit your images with Capture NX-D, an editing software developed by Nikon for Nikon’s RAW images. It lets you adjust parameters such as brightness, sharpening, and clarity of the Picture Control setting used in the photo. As it saves your adjustments in a separate file, you can easily restart the adjustment of your RAW images when required.

Experimenting with black and white can bring out the emotion and story of your image. Alex further elaborates on what it takes to get that perfect shot. “My approach when it comes to black and white photography is to always capture the image in colours, and thereafter convert them into black and white.”

He uses a range of programmes to achieve the effect, however he notes that not all images are suited to the black and white enviroment. Here is a key tip to help navigate your way through this medium:

Whatever you are trying to create, make it realistic and believable. “Nowadays many photographers like to produce black and white images with HDR effect. However images may end up looking flat. I personally do not like using HDR and often advise photographers to shoot and composite well instead.”

No matter how you choose to enter into black and white photography, it is a great method to explore a new way of seeing and discovering what thrives in monochrome. Experiment with black and white photography today.


Picture Controls Step-by-Step

The Nikon Picture Control system features a variety of Picture Control options: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, and Landscape. Using them allows you to adjust for a variety of parameters. Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Portrait and Landscape allow for adjustments to sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation, and hue (coloration). Monochrome allows for adjustments to sharpening, contrast, brightness, filter effects and toning.

Take Control of Colour using Picture Controls

Want more control of colour in your photos? Actually, you've already got it. It's in your camera. Nikon DSLR, COOLPIX and Nikon 1 cameras offer the option of customising colour to suit your taste and style.

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Capture NX-D Software

The Capture NX-D is a free application that is optimal for processing and adjusting RAW images, allowing for greater ease of use and convenience. It is specifically created for images captured with your Nikon camera, whether it’s a DSLR, a Nikon 1 interchangeable camera, or a COOLPIX compact camera. Adjusting your images to create photos that maximises the capabilities of both your camera and lens has never been easier.