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first time shooting black and white

Hi everybody,
this is the first black and white photo I've taken and I am in love with it, but wondering if it's just beginner ego or if it's really a good photo.
it was shot on colour film then converted to B/W later on in Lightroom.

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6 Comments

Phillip Breske's picture

The first thing I noticed is the enormous amount of grain or noise in this image. Not sure if that is from the film you used or the conversion, but it's a big distraction.

The B&W conversion is a little dark for me, but all the tones seem well controlled; none of the whites or blacks are clipped.

As a photograph, it needs some work. The timbers in the foreground and the stick coming out of the left building are all big distractions. I assume the subject of the photo is the building in the middle, so I would have walked around the area to find a better angle without so many other things in front of or around that building.

Remember, if it doesn't add to the photo, it detracts from it. Everything in the photo should be there for a reason. If it doesn't have a reason to be there, it shouldn't be in the photo. And it's always better to try to get an angle without distractions than to just say, "I'll remove it later in Photoshop." That's a lot more work and most people (ESPECIALLY photographers) will see the edit and downgrade the image for it.

Keep shooting!

thanks for the tips.
when I shot the photo I wanted to show the deterioration and neglect of the area, I can see now that all the timber is distracting. the grain is probably because I used a very cheap film stock. I'll go back and try to get a better picture with a better film stock.

Adam Nelson's picture

In my opinion, the re bar (I'm assuming?) sticking out on the left actually acts as an arrow directing your attention toward the hut in the middle. It is powerful especially in its uniform proximity to both the X and Y axis of the hut. Philip is right about the lumber in the foreground and I might crop an inch on either side to take out both the doorway and excess building on the right edge, but I have to commend you for finding an unorthodox perspective of this scene. Keep looking outside the box!

user-146450's picture

I would crop out the building on the left and the line,pole on the right and photoshop out the rebar, pipe on the left. Apart from that i love the image and u have good tones.

Chris Jablonski's picture

My two bob's worth! The image is not entirely satisfying for me, because the composition is a little jarring and the grain does spoil it for me; actually it looks more like digital noise, as sharp film grain can have its own appeal (e.g. Michael Kenna's work).

However, I don't think that the suggested crops or compositional fixes would improve it for me - with all due respect to all of you, I think they'd destroy it for me! I like that finger pointing into the frame, and I think the mass of the building on the left anchors the image, while the wall on the right has a beneficial framing effect.

I wouldn't share Phillip's assumption about the subject - to me, the whole scene, and its chaos, are the subject, if anything, so maybe that jarring effect needs to be there, even if it's not to my usual taste.

What would help it, for me, would be to be able to see it all more clearly, as on close inspection, the textures are too fuzzy. An unfortunate combination of noise/grain AND lack of clarity in the outlines and details. Perhaps the shadow areas could be lightened a little without killing the feel. Not sure here.

I hope I'm not being too harsh, Khalid. I think the image has promise and IMHO the fundamental composition IS sound. I'd reprocess from scratch and see what you come up with. But if you're happy with it, that's fine too.

thanks for the feedback, I'll go back and try to take another picture with the same composition and see how the picture turns out to.