focus52|2012 {week three} january 15 to 21

Welcome to Week Three! How are things coming along? I hope you’re settling in and getting comfortable with what you are doing. If you have any questions or concerns, now is the time to ask! Comments are always open here, so feel free to leave a note or a question any time.

Last week, we had a lot of fun with the prompt I am. I saw a lot of great ideas come from our group and learned quite a lot about most of you. Fun!

This week, our focus52 prompt for week three is,

There are a few things you can do with this prompt, the most obvious being a photo taken in or converted to, black and white. But maybe you want to go for the less obvious, choosing to capture an idea or abstract of black and white, or perhaps something in your world that is already seen in black and white (a tiled floor, the printed word, a grey and foggy day, etc).

A photo presented in black and white is not as simple as running a quick conversion in an editing program and calling it a day. As should always be the way, your photo begins inside of your camera and the key to an excellent black and white photo is in your composition. Stripping away the color from your image strips away distraction and gets right to the heart of what you are attempting to capture. A few things to think about when composing your shot,

  1. focal point: Choose your focal point and be aware of everything you are bringing into the frame. Do surrounding objects lead the viewers eye to the subject? Remember you are not relying on color to form your focal point.
  2. declutter: Black and white photography gets right to the heart of the matter. Try to remove distractions and clutter. Strive for a ‘clean’ shot.
  3. contrast: Look for good contrast in your scene. Shadows and highlights are an important part of your composition! Without them, you have a grey, flat photograph. Blech.
  4. ISO: Try to keep it low to avoid a ‘noisey’ shot. Although most of us regularly do this anyway, black and white can make noise more pronounced so you want to keep an eye on that. Unless of course, that’s the look you’re trying to achieve. I personally love a gritty black and white shot :)
  5. exposure: Expose for the ‘grey’ areas of your scene and then adjust. Again, keep contrast in mind. If your photo has a distinct focal point (such as in a portrait) expose for the subject and adjust until you have the tonal look you’re after.

A few examples of black and white photography from our focus52 members!
1.Parisian Street 2.San Juan Island 3.1/52 4.10/52 5.I am 6.framed 7.Untouched #52 8.La Noyee 9.I am

Black and white photography can be stunning, timeless, romantic, journalistic … fun! Some say that to truly understand the basics of photography and composition, beginning your education in black and white is a must. Whether a must or not, it definitely improves your skills. Some excellent subjects for black and white studies might include buildings/architecture, photo-journalism/street photography and always, always timeless portraits. Black and white tells a story. What story would you like to tell?

Don’t have a photo editing program? These ones are free (to name a few):
Photoshop OnLine
Remember though, first get in right in camera.

Whatever you choose to do this week, follow the prompt or no, come back here and link up your work when you’re done (weeks run Sunday to Saturday, don’t forget!). Links must be to the direct URL of your actual work, not just to the site it’s posted in, and may be a link to your blog post or to your flickr photo. Also, please don’t link and run – try to find some time to visit at least a few of your fellow 52’ers. That’s half the fun! And don’t forget the flickr pool!

Remember, you do not need to use the prompt in order to come back here and share.

Have a happy week, 52’rs :)

  • Laura King
    Posted at 01:08h, 16 January Reply

    I’m so glad you picked B&W! I rarely convert, but when I do I always end up loving it. This was no exception. :)

    • janice
      Posted at 08:37h, 16 January Reply

      Yay! Your photo is wonderful :)

  • Courtenay
    Posted at 16:22h, 16 January Reply

    Ironically, I just put up a b&w white photo, but I took it weeks ago. I’ll have to have another go. :)

    • Courtenay
      Posted at 16:22h, 16 January Reply

      Ermm, ignore that extra “white”. I need to proofread before I post these things.

      • janice
        Posted at 18:44h, 17 January Reply

        Yep! It’s a great opportunity to try some of the suggestions, settings, etc :)

  • christie
    Posted at 10:52h, 17 January Reply

    Dang it. I did my photo super early this week now I’m waiting around impatiently for Sunday…. lol

  • Janice
    Posted at 12:03h, 17 January Reply

    Why stop?
    You can submit up to 5 photos per week to the flickr pool!
    Keep shooting, chicklet!

  • Christie
    Posted at 15:22h, 17 January Reply


  • Sylvia @ From the Heart
    Posted at 09:55h, 19 January Reply

    Jan, I feel a bit spunky with this one. I suppose I”m just keeping it real. I”m hoping I don’t wear out my button too much. :)

  • Christian
    Posted at 02:48h, 21 January Reply

    It’s so funny because I was just thinking that I don’t make enough black and white photos anymore. Thanks for the inspiration:)

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