Quick Tip #9: Shooting in B&W but working in colour

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Say whaaaat?  I know… I know.

Many photographers (and clients) see my images on the back of my camera and they always comment on why I am shooting in black and white.  They think it’s some sort of hipster retro way of shooting.  But really,  I like to see things in black and white.  I prefer to see tones and contrast and not have my eye bothered too much by colour.  In most cases anyways.

However, I always want the full colour file to work with when I process images on my computer.

It’s pretty easy… the image that is shown on your camera’s LCD is a small, temporary JPG file that your camera creates for viewing and is not saved on your card.  DSLRs have a function called Picture Style that allows you to control how the camera processes your JPG files.  You can bring up the saturation, lower contrast, add sharpness, whatever.  For photography, these settings only apply to your JPG files, whether they be the preview JPG file OR the JPG file saved on your card.

But see… I shoot in RAW.  RAW is a file type that isn’t compressed into a JPG and contains way more data.  These RAW files are not impacted by the Picture Style you chose.  So by setting my file type saved on my card to RAW, I change my Picture Style to Monochrome (aka black and white), and voilà!  I see in black and white on the LCD, but have the full colour file to play with (and convert into black and white later in post processing if I so chose).

**NOTE that the Picture Style will also affect the video you produce.  So if you have it set for black and white for photos, the video will ALSO be in black and white.  So keep that in mind**

Step 1 … go into your menu.  The Picture Style is usually set to Auto

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Step 2 … Change the picture style to Monochrome

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Step 3 … Actually, that’s pretty much it

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Make sure you are shooting in RAW (and you might want to check that your software can process your RAWs 🙂 ), and you are off!

The menu is different for my Fuji (and possibly for Nikon as well), but the logic remains.

There you have it!  How to shoot in black and white and work in colour 🙂

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