Shooting in Monochrome
To give a contemporary photo an old-fashioned feel, try shooting in monochrome. A picture done entirely in black and white or sepia tones achieves on old time look. Rather than editing the picture through a computer program, many digital cameras feature a setting that enables you to actually shoot the images directly in monochrome.
The monochrome setting option simplifies the process of creating these stunning pictures. No software or special knowledge of photo editing is required to produce these stunning images. Depending on what type of digital camera you have, the monochrome setting will be located in the My Colours, Colour or Picture Style settings menu.
Types of monochrome settings
Once you’ve located the monochrome setting, you will see that you have different options. Black and white and sepia settings are offered by most digital cameras. Colour monochrome settings, such as green and blue, are included in some cameras as well. The more advanced cameras enable you to enhance the monochrome mode with various coloured filters. These filters allow you to achieve a number of effects. For instance, you can recreate the effect of a red filter over black and white film. Also, any colours in the subject that are the same colour as the filter can be selectively lightened.
Choosing a setting
Consider the emotion you want the photo to evoke. Sepia tones create a different feel than black and white, and vice versa. For example, a sepia-toned image will present a softer look, reminiscent of antique photos. Black and white, on the other hand, is ideal for photographing strong structural elements for stark contrasts.
Choosing your subject
Landscapes and city scenes tend to feature strong structural elements, such as buildings. Shadows actually enhance these subjects. Sunlight casts the lines and angles with dramatic patterns. To record the most detail possible, use an ISO setting of 200 or less. Low ISO settings best capture the shadows and structures that make for striking monochrome photos.
Gentle, more romantic settings also lend themselves well to monochrome mode. A dream-like or nostalgic mood can be evoked through monochrome photography. Subtle nuances emerge through the variations in tone.
Portraits, of both pets and people, are excellent subjects for monochrome photographs, particularly those done in black and white. You can vary the effect by changing the lighting. Soft light minimises the appearance of blemishes. Directional lighting, lighting which emanates from a single source, accentuates facial features.
Tips for shooting in monochrome
As explained above, the monochrome setting directly captures monochrome images. No colour information is recorded. While colour photos can be made monochrome with computer software, a photo taken in the monochrome setting cannot be reverted to colour. That is, unless you take the pictures in RAW format.
Try using your digital camera’s flash, whether inside or outside, when taking monochrome photos. Although the flash might washout an image taken in colour, that same flash can cast desirable dramatic shadows in monochrome.
Experiment with the different filters before you start taking photos. Your efforts will be better directed if you first know the effect that each filter achieves.