[BTS Video] How To Shoot Black And White In Camera For Easy Proofing

Jay P Morgan's Behind The Scenes Videos seem to pop up every single week. In this week's episode, Jay teaches a few tricks for shooting black and white photography. Everyone knows how to convert their images into black and white in Photoshop but Jay recommends turning your camera to BW so you can see the results real time. He then uses Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro to make the final tweaks when he gets back to the studio. Jay also explains some useful lighting techniques to help make your black and white photos pop out a bit.

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Solid stuff as always from Jay P Morgan. But is Silver efex really worth getting? I mean can you do anything with it that you cant do with the vanilla photoshop or is it just "easier" to do it?

Sean Shimmel's picture

The software's flashy title (the word "Silver" has a built-in coolness about it) seems to me far more special than any dramatic results I can discern (and I wonder how many end clients really, really pay attention to minutiae like grain structure, etc... and even if so, Lightroom has grain settings built in at no extra cost).

And I do freely admit... maybe I'm just in a grumpy phase and tired of the endless software/equipment spending without the commensurate return on investment.

Anyone else use competitive methods/actions at a far lower cost?

Patrick Hall's picture

I'm a big fan of the Alienskin Exposure plugin.  I'm not sure what all you can do in Lightroom or Nik but Alienskin has a ton of really well designed film emulators.  The thing with doing it all in photoshop is 1) you need to know how to do each step and 2) it takes a long time doing everything.  I've found that just scrolling through 30 different black and white films in Alienskin and then tweaking the final result saves me a ton of time.  

Oh and Lee used Exposure on the iPhone fashion shoot if you want an idea of the effects it does on color images.  

Sean Shimmel's picture

I use Ascough's Silver Actions (there's that flashy "silver" word again strutting it's stuff). It makes the grain pattern more nicely random than just running the noise filter straight. Boutwells action sets have a noise option built in as well. 

I have tried Silver Efex and Alien Skin's as well. The latter is fun to play with but it's so hard to justify the price. 

In the end, Lightroom has it's own freebies.

Maybe I'm jaded with extra software because so many clients don't even seem to notice the fancy. While I certainly pick up on minutiae, it seems most clients do not.

Again maybe it's just me. I'm not grousing (I hope).

Maybe it's just a fin de siecle in my post production motivations  :)

Cool I might give a shot then, I have heard good things about Alien skin exposure.

Patrick Hall's picture

we are in the works with a cool contest for Alien Skin....hold ur horses :)

Do you realize that this effects even in half does not imitate real black and white, film ? Dynamic range is tragic. For such retro photoshoting would be wise to use large format camera with glass negative.

Mike Hylandsson's picture

What? No Nikon DSLR sacrifice at the end?  ;)

Thanks for sharing Jay's vid!