Shooting in black & white with Nikon and Canon cameras
My camera is set up to shoot to black & white almost all the time. Do not think that I’m a solely black & white photographer. I neither want to loose the benefits of color channels in my camera image. So I use the way to benefit from both color and black & white images.
First I’d like to share my benefits of shooting to black & white, which is not always the same as having the final result in black & white:
- It is tremendously easier to evaluate composition on the camera LCD without the distraction of the image color. In this way my composition can be stronger.
- It is easier to see resulting light on a black&white image. Thus I can catch some potential problems, and fix it more effectively.
- There is definitely time and place for a stunning B&W image, but we do not realize it sometimes. Having black & white image aside with the color version helps me to catch those moments in post-production without even doing any conversions. It saves time.
The image in the title is a good example of the black & white estimation. It was taken in the Grand Canyon, where with all the possibilities of that magnificent place, black & white photography is limited to just the lucky sunset minutes. During the daytime huge distances, and air effects, make image washed out, demanding a lot of post-production for an Okay result. That’s why, I even turn off the black & white mode in the Grand Canyon. That time I caught the snow storm in the Canyon. The contrast was absolutely different, and I love the result in black&white with very minor editing. The idea of black&white was already cleaar to me on the camera LCD.
How to change Picture Style in Canon cameras
- Select the second Shooting Menu tab (red one). Alternatively you can simply press the Picture Style button on your EOS DSLR (img.1).
- Scroll down to [Picture Style] in menu list, then press Set.
- Select Monochrome and press Set (img.2).
How to change Picture Controls in Nikon cameras
- Open the Shooting menu (img.3),
or press the ‘i’ button on the back of your camera (img.4). Older cameras have ‘info’ button – first button press shows the info display, second allows to navigate and change settings on it.
- Select Set Picture Control in the menu and press OK, or right joystick button.
- Select Monochrome and press OK (img.5).
How to get a color image together with the black&white one
Well, if you are only shooting to JPEG, it is impossible to have two JPEGs at ones (color + black & white). If you are shooting to RAW, then understand that RAW files are always untouched, original channels of your camera, what you see on the camera LCD display is a preview JPEG, where camera includes all the in-camera treatments. Thus you have two options:
- Set up camera to black & white, and shoot in RAW only. Then you will see the LCD display photos in black & white, but you will only have a single RAW color image from the camera.
- Set up camera to black & white, and shooting mode to RAW + JPEG. Then in addition to the color RAW you’ll have a black & white JPEG, as you saw it on LCD.
The primer option saves you time and disk space, and may be a better choice if your only need black & white to estimate composition and light while shooting.
As usually, I’ll be glad to answer your questions, or provide more clarification on the topic of this article: