Black and White Photography and patience, my conversion workflow in 5 easy steps
Patience in black and white photography
In one of my previous comments I have already mentioned how important is patience in photography. This is particularly true for B&W Photography. I would like to clarify what I mean here in more than in just one sentence.
One of the many things I love about Fine Art Photography is that the final images of different photographs depend only on you. There is no manual on how to do things right or an exact procedure for photography adjustment which you could massively apply for all pictures to get a guaranteed result. Certainly not. Nevertheless, there are certain processes that seem easy, if not trivial but once you start using them, trust me, your portfolio can significantly move forward.
Let me sum up my advice into a couple of key points which also reflect the way I normally proceed:
1) Choose only the best!
When I download all the photos from the last shooting, I go through them and select the best ones which meet best my idea of the final result. Be uncompromising and put all the regular photographs aside. Be careful, the reason why I am writing to put them aside and not delete them is that sometimes pictures that seem average at first sight, can be used later again. Our senses or post process skills develop gradually. You could delete a photo that might once become your bestseller.
2) Think ahead what you’re planning to do with the photograph
The best B&W Photographers consider this step especially important. Sometimes it can take days until you actually realize what is going to work best for a particular photograph. Some people set up a rough photo for a few days on the desktop and everytime they have a moment, they think about it again.
3) Devide the postprocess into several days.
Postprocess in Black and White Photography is especially important. Usually Works with one photograph for several hours. Which is why it’s convenient to devide this process into various days. Personally, I do the selection on the first day, then I dedicate the next day to B&W conversion itself and tuning up of the photography into a publishable form until I am completely satisfied.
4) Let the photography cool down for another couple of days
Do you have the feeling that the photography is ready for publishing and that you made the best B&W conversion that you possibly could extract from the photograph? Leave it aside for a few days and from time to time take a look at it again. Im am convinced that in 99% of cases you will find various imperfections. Finalize the details which you find disturbing. If you are still not sure whether this should be its final version, simply start working on another photograph. In my opinion, it is convenient to work on several photographs independantly and gradually get back from one to another. Actually, I have reprocessed the above displayed photo for 4 times to get the result to be satisfied with!
5) Finally ready for publishing!
Finally, we are getting to the last step- the publishing of your black and white masterpiece! If you have been really petient with steps 1-4, you have a photograph that will succeed. You definitely don’t want to publish a photograph that had a great potencial but you missed its first impression.
The best black and white photographers I have been in touch with use a similar procedure. In case of any questions or if you would like to share your workflow, I would be very thankful for any comments.