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In Camera Black and Whites? Seriously?

In Camera Black and Whites?  Seriously?

Ok guys, I know what you’re thinking.

  1. “What’s the point?”
  2. “Conversions can happen after the fact in post.”
  3. “Shooting in color gives you more options after the fact.”

While all these arguments have validity in their own right, there are a few reasons you may just want to consider shooting your black and whites in camera. So here’s the scoop:

Once upon a time there was a girl named Natalie.  She shot everything in color until one day her friend Mike Colon suggested she try shooting her black and whites in camera.  Doubtfully, Natalie obeyed, and this is what she discovered:

In Camera Black and Whites?  Seriously?

  1. In camera black and whites force creativity.WOW!  It’s like a creative infusion from the Heavens.  When you’re shooting in camera black and whites you’re making a creative decision as you depress the shutter.  It’s empowering AND it forces you to really focus and think things through to the end as you shoot rather than mentally using Photoshop as a crutch for sloppy photography. It makes you WORK HARDER, and I find that when you work harder on one aspect of your photography, all aspects tend to benefit.
  2. They just look better!Black and whites shot in camera are more organic and less “muddy,” thus requiring less work in post processing.  When I shoot my black and whites in camera I find that basically all I need after the fact is a slight contrast boost and perhaps a sepia overlay at a low opacity (see my post on custom black and whites) if I’m going for something with a more antiqued look. I’ll be honest with you, I can get the same affect with color images converted to black and white in Photoshop, but it takes a heck of a lot more tweaking to get the desired result.  Since I’m all over simplicity, in camera conversions have turned out to be my cup of tea.
  3. In Camera Black and Whites?  Seriously?

  4. It’s fun!As I’m shooting my black and whites in camera and I check that LCD, it’s refreshing and fun to see those black and white images staring back at me!  Woot woot!

Now do the reasons just listed in favor of in camera conversions trump those presented at the top of the post in opposition?  Meh. It’s preferencial really. But it’s definitely something to think about.

Happy Shooting!

Note from Darren: Of course in photography for every person’s approach there’s another one. I prefer to convert to Black and White later – I talk about why here. What approach do you take?

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Natalie Norton
Natalie Norton

is a writer and a lifestyle wedding and portrait photographer who shoots across the globe. She is based off of the North Shore of Oahu and out of Gilbert, Arizona. Enjoy more of her photography and writing at www.natalienortonblog.com. You can also connect with Natalie via Twitter or on Facebook.

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