B&W conversion

In-camera B&Ws and related thoughts

I have mainly been shooting RAW with my X-Pro1 lately largely because of improved RAW support by LR 4.4. But I tested again (did this already with my earlier X-Pro1) in-camera B&Ws and this time exclusively in 1:1 format. Very cool indeed. I have adjusted highlight tones to +1, shadow tones in +2, and sharpening to +1. These settings increase contrast quite a much and give also additional punch to sharpening. Square format is very interesting one for the compositions. When doing this I am not cropping in LR at all and also otherwise use only very minimal adjustments. For example, I am not so worried about clipped highlights or shadow areas (of course I try to get the right exposure). It seems that little bit of a clipping give that certain wanted character for the shots. This approach may seem to be very limiting but actually I find it very nice approach. It gives more space to breathe. It is not limiting me at all. It frees my mind.

When shooting using the approach mentioned above led me to think cameras. This could be very dangerous thing to happen, I know. But anyways. I would be very happy with a very limiting camera. For example, a digital camera with a fixed prime lens having a B&W-only sensor. I know there is Leica Monochrom but it is way too expensive (and it uses interchangeable lenses which too are way too expensive for me). I would like to go one or two steps further from the Monochrom when speaking about limiting factors. Yes, B&W only but fixed prime lens and fixed image format (e.g. 1:1). Yes, just crazy. But I feel that kind of a camera less limiting than those with huge amount of customization. Just take the camera in your hands, compose, expose, and shoot.

Signature look?

Have you ever tried to create a signature look for your photos? I certainly have tried. I am pleased to my achievements for a certain time after which I will change my mind. Usually I am going back to more natural look. For that “natural” look it is very important how the camera renders the image I am going to see in my computer monitor.

For color shots I have tried out desaturated look. I think I have found quite good adjustments for that in Lightroom. But using the desaturated look for a while I am not happy anymore. I am craving colors back. Here are some examples of my desaturated look.

There are times when I am very much into B&Ws. I have made my own B&W preset in Lightroom and many times I really like the results. Here are some B&Ws processed by using my own preset.

In addition to my own B&W preset I use VSCO Film presets for post-processing. I really love those presets because they are not made through any plug-in which always generate those huge TIFF files.

So it seems to be a long road to a signature look.

In his virtual shop

In his virtual shop, originally uploaded by Jonne Naarala.

Tiitus is selecting groceries from a virtual shelf here. 😉

The actual reason (even if I like the shot in general too) for posting this photo here was to state that I think I have found B&W adjustments which really pleases me.

I use Aperture 3 for my RAW converter (and also to adjust JPEGs) and after a long-time testing and tweaking I am now happy with the B&W results. No need to use any other programmes or plug-ins for the conversion anymore. I have tested and used before Nik’s Silver Efex Pro (also version 2) and DxO’s Film Pack 3. Both are very nice plug-ins, Silver Efex even a fantastic one. But it is always an extra step and more importantly you’ll get those huge TIFF files after using them.

That is why I have been trying to find suitable B&W adjustments in Aperture and to save them as my personal B&W preset. I want to have quite constant results which need only minor additional tweaking.

What I basically do in Aperture 3 is to use different curves adjustments together with some decrease in vibrancy plus some tinting in color levels to achieve above kind of a result.

I have been trying to find similar approach also for color shots but it seems to be a much more complicated thing to achieve.