Black and White


Here lately I’ve been on a black and white binge.  I’ve always loved it, it was all I shot when I started. Old BW images of Elvis, Sinatra and also Ansel Adams images inspired me to start shooting in the first place.  So lately since I’ve been traveling quite a bit for projects, so when I’m shooting personal stuff wherever I am, if the image calls for it. Very often it is intended for Black and White. Let me say that it is different to specifically know you want the final image to be BW. I’ll elaborate on this later. (Not saying you can’t stumble, or play with settings and find out later that you would prefer the image in black and white)

There’s something about it. Color is always about brilliance of colors but BW you’re looking at tones. I guess bw images seem more iconic, more timeless.

Software I Use is really 3 programs. I might use all 3 or just one, considering what the image calls for.

Photoshop CS5.  Great tool. Industry Standard. I really use this if I want to use layers and blending modes to create something very specific. I can dodge and burn extremely specific.

Dodge and Burn Photoshop Technique. Maybe I’m scarred from when the actual tools “Dodge and Burn” were actually destructive to the file. If you open a new layer. set the blend mode to SOFT LIGHT. Then use the brush tool to white (lighter) or black (dark) to paint on highlights and shadows that you want embellished.  This is what I do, not saying its the only way. Just sayin.

Lightroom 3. Despite all the other amazing things this program does (cataloging, batch editing, awesome plug ins, Raw Converter, Noise wrangler.) I love to use LR as a converter for BW. LR is so great and easy, I’ve used it since version 1, and had it before I had Photoshop. Often I will do my initial conversion in LR and export it to PS. It just comes out cleaner from working with the RAW file and Converting it to JPG or Tiff.

Nik Silver EFEX Pro Amazing BW converter Plug in!  this has become a serious step in my BW work. Clean, Functional. amazing control. Highly recommend this product

Cali Pano

Hunt Building 17mm Tilt Shift

The beautiful Vanessa shot with one of my favorite lenses, the 50 1.2…shot at F1.2.

1.2 Magic


Arizona Ceiling

Challenge yourself. Often if I’m running around (not on pro gigs) I’ll put one lens on the camera…and dedicate the day to THIS lens, BW.. focusing your creativity will turn your brain on in different ways than “just shooting.” One of my favorite movie lines is from Top Gun… Maverick says “It’s too close for Missiles, I’m switching to guns”.   I like that. He knows a certain tool is used for a specific moment. Switch to BW guns.

Triangle to Heaven

TIP. One of the things that really helps me when I know I want to shoot in black and white is to actually go in your camera and set it to shoot black and white.  When you import the file it will be back to the color RAW, and you can convert it to BW in software after wards. But to see the image on location BW is extremely helpful. Light looks different, you will shoot differently knowing that it is intended for BW.

Arizona Windows
Fowl Lake

I want to be more of a functional blogger for people to learn what I’ve learned, as well as sharing what I’ve always wanted to. Please forgive me if I’ve been complacent about posting new and cool stuff.

some of my favorite BW Photographers.

Nick Brandt

Ansel Adams (DUH)

Nigel Perry

Julius Shulman

Be Just and Fear Not.  Have a blast and Keep shooting!


These images are copyrighted to Brian Braun. Please do use for any purpose with out my written permission. Thanks!

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