Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Black-and-white

Visualize for Black and White While You Shoot

The very best black and white results are achieved by shooting RAW and converting to monochrome in Photoshop but to see your bw image on your camera monitor you have to set the camera up to show bw but record in RAW. This short tutorial explains how…

Paul Fowler, Black & White Digital photography course OSP

Jay Tomasso Black and White Digital course OSP


Michael Kenna: Traces of the Past

Michael Kenna is sort of local to Oxford, having taught in Banbury so not quite a home town boy but  one of the most experienced black and white photographers still active. This really illuminating interview is worth your time.

“Michael Kenna’s beautiful black-and-white images have been described as haunting, minimalist and ethereal. And by his admission, he chooses to examine one or two elements in a scene, “instead of describing everything that’s going on.” His unique approach to the environment results in simple but powerful photos of architecture, landscapes and the sea.”

55+ Great Photography Tutorials

From Tripwire

By following detailed photography tutorials you can learn new techniques and be inspired by experienced photographers.

Photography is a great passion for many people and the possibilities for creating stunning shots are endless with the right equipment and skills. Some photographers are exceptional at capturing time and situations forever. While a bit of luck and good timing is required, many technical elements need to be just right. In many cases it requires patience, planning and a good sense for details to capture the best photo. In addition, many photographers today use after processing in tools like Photoshop. I personally think that learning some image enhancement techniques is useful as well.

Since we have been presenting various showcases of photography styles over time, I thought it would be a great idea to share some useful tips, tricks and tutorials. The availability of free material online for learning various techniques of photography is impressive but it takes time to filter out the useful stuff. I made an attempt by collecting more than 55 great photography tutorials.

These are really good tutorials. Here are just a few to sample

Nightclub Photography –



This Nightclub Photography useful guide on how taking photos in clubs and bars where the light is dim but you need to capture images using a fairly fast shutter speed. see more here

Focus Stacking



This image is the result of a focus stacking technique. It could not be done in a single shot. Read the tutorial here

5 Second Eye Enhancement – MORE INFO


Here’s a super-simple technique for enhancing the most important bits of any portrait: the eyes. It’s a quick and painless way to make the eyes really stand out and take on a slightly sultry and burning look.

Photographing Wild Birds In Civilized Places – MORE INFO


This Eagle-Owl portrait was shot with a 400mm lens when the bird looked in my direction.

How To Capture Stunning Fine Art Landscape Photographs – MORE INFO


The man in this photo is working to extract salt from the Salinas Grande’s, a large salt pan in north-west Argentina. The photo shows the relationship between the man and the otherworldly landscape that he works in.

Street Photography Explained – MORE INFO


Street photography is one of those techniques that sounds simple, ‘just go out and take some photos of people wondering about’.

See more of these tutorials here

Photographer Collection: William Hacker’s Portraits

Photographer William Hacker started taking pictures at age 21. Originally from Leslie, Missouri, Hacker now lives in Brooklyn, New York and works primarily with black and white analogue film.

“With film, I immediately felt more involved both mentally and physically with the entire photographic process, because there was a tangible object I could physically touch and hold. With digital, I never seemed to be completely satisfied or proud of the photograph I had taken, even if the content and composition was what I wanted or intended it to be.”

Hacker processes all of his own black and white film and makes his own prints in his darkroom which doubles as a bedroom in his small apartment.

“The fact that we live in a digital world makes it that much more difficult to shoot analogue because the supplies aren’t nearly as readily available as they once were – although I consider myself lucky because there is still a strong analogue presence in NYC compared to most cities. The analogue process will continue to be not only an increasing financial burden, but also very time consuming when compared to the quick workflows of digital. However, I will always greatly prefer a print made either in the darkroom or with another alternative process to a print made from a digital file.” This wonderful set of images is from The Denver Post, go here to see all of the portraits


Portrait of my father as he sits on the front porch of the 19th century log cabin he restored after nearly 100 years of vacancy. The cabin was first built in the 1850’s.


Portrait of a set of triplets. The photograph was taken shortly after a look-alike competition at the annual Twinsburg Festival located in Twinsburg, Ohio. For over 30 years, hundreds of twins gather from around the world to participate in the annual festival.


Portrait of a young boy dressed as a werewolf in Bedstuy, Brooklyn. Halloween was delayed in most areas of New York due to Hurricane Sandy.

all images William Hacker, see the rest here

How to Make a Darkroom in Your Bathroom

by over at Lightstalking

Despite the current renaissance of film photography, one of the biggest issues facing celluloid fans is getting it processed and printed. Long gone are the days of mini-labs in every small town, today you are more likely to have to send it off to another location to get the processing done. Even more tricky is to find places that will process and print black and white film, so, with that in mind,  why not have a go yourself. Back in the analogue days, one of the most popular ways of doing this was to have a bathroom darkroom. This simple set up negated the need for a dedicated room and permanent set up, and allowed for the photographer to develop as and when he needed to.

So How Do We Set Up a Bathroom Darkroom?

Well, first and most importantly, we need to black out the bathroom. There are several ways of doing this, but one of the best ways is to make wooden frame covered in blackout cloth or plastic that fits snugly into the window’s alcove. To seal any further light leakage use a roll of duct tape to seal around the window and the doors. The advantages of using duct tape is that it is easily removed when finished and cheap. Once sealed, stand in the bathroom for ten minutes (and let your eyes adjust) to see where, if at all, light is leaking.

A simple solution to creating a darkroom – by Matus Kalisky, on Flickr

More here  How to Make a Darkroom in Your Bathroom

Lightroom 4 and Black and White

A week isn’t worth having unless I have time to visit some of my favourite sites on the web. One of these is  by David du Chemin. David duChemin is a world & humanitarian assignment photographer, best-selling author, international workshop leader, and accidental founder of Craft & Vision. When not chasing adventure and looking for beauty, David is based in Vancouver, Canada.

This week I found an article he had written about Lightroom 4 and black an white conversions, here is a bit of what he says:

One of my favourite improvements in Lightroom 4 is the ability, in the graduated filter and the adjustment brush, to dial in colour temperature and tint……It’s worth remembering that in Lightroom you aren’t really working on a monochrome image. You’re working on a colour image with a monochrome filter on top. So moving the colour values around underneath that filter – either with temperature or with the channel mixer (Black and White Mix) – will change the tonal values you see in the resulting image. Different tonal values, different contrasts, and different visual mass – in other words, a different feel for the image, and new ways for us to hone our expression. Want more read on here

©David duChemin

Darkroom hire

In 1982 the Photographers Workshop was the first privately run darkroom hire centre in the UK. We continued to offer darkrooms and tuition until about 4 years ago when demand almost dried up. Since then of course I have received regular requests for darkrooms, now I only am aware of one. Here are some details

Photochats is a community photography project offering exhibitions, photographic workshops and high quality traditional darkroom printing facilities at a reasonable price.

Black and White and Colour Darkroom Hire.

All darkroom users have to attend an induction session before using any of the facilities. This will cover health and safety, darkroom and building procedures. The induction lasts for one hour and costs £10.00.

Inductions can be arranged at any time subject to availability. Call 07921 816754. This can be extended to include a second hour of directly supervised refresher printing if requested (£20.00 including induction).

Subsequently enlarger time can be booked by the session as shown in the timetable above. There is no annual membership fee. The basic charge is £4.00 per hour to use the darkroom. Alternatively you can buy 12 hours for £35.00. These hours should be used within 3 months of purchase. All darkroom bookings should be made at least 24 hours in advance by phone: 07921 816754 or emailphotochats10@yahoo.com

Darkroom Facilities.

The colour darkroom consists of 2 bench mounted De Vere 504 enlargers plus a floor standing De Vere 5108 (10×8). The processor is a table top Metoform 5040 which will take a maximum print width of 16 inches (20×16). The chemistry is Kodak. All negative sizes up to 10×8 can be catered for. The black and white darkroom has 4 bench mounted enlargers, including at least two De Vere’s, one with a cold cathode the other with a Multigrade 500 head. The paper is processed in open trays with the maximum size being 24x20inches. The paper developer is normally Ilford PQ Universal. There is a resin coated roller dryer and a couple of fibre dryers plus racks for air drying.

More info here

18 Essential Free Photoshop Tutorials for Black and White Photography Lovers

From those very nice people down under another great post from Lightstalking

Black and white can add drama and emotion to many different kinds of photographs. There are however, many different ways to convert your digital images to black and white and an almost limitless amount of effects that you can apply after that. Here are some of the best Photoshop tutorials for black and white lovers that we could find.

Hitchcock by 85mm.ch, on Flickr

Standard Black and White Conversions in Photoshop Tutorials

7 Black and White Photoshop Conversion Techniques – You should probably familiarise yourself with the different basic options available to you when you want to make black and white images from your colour digital files. This is a good start.

Converting to B&W – There are a lot of ways to use Photoshop to convert your colour files to black and white. This tutorial gives a fast rundown of 4 of the main ways you should know about.

Fast, High Quality Black and White Conversions in Photoshop – This is a solid way to quickly convert your colour digital images into high quality black and white images. Simple steps and plenty of screen shots too!

Black and White City Photographs

In some ways photographing in black and white has never been easier. In the past the usual places that would develop your films such as chemists and other high street stores made a real hash of black and white. Now with digital technology you can shoot black and white or monochrome in your camera although my preference is always to shoot RAW, and hence colour and make the conversion in the computer, I use Lightroom as my preferred RAW processing program. If you want to see the image in black and white on the camera monitor but still record in RAW many cameras do allow this. On Canon cameras you can go into Picture Style and select monochrome but in the menu under Quality select RAW. I am sure it must be possible with Nikon’s I just don’t know how to do it being a Canon user.

The subject matter for black and white can be as varied as you want but often urban environments give a bit  extra when shot in monochrome. This article on the Lightstalking website expresses that and has lots of examples.

Heading out with a camera in the city can be a heap of fun. Street scenes and architecture can produce some great scenes for photographers and when you shoot with black and white in mind, the results can be very powerful. We think these shots show what we mean. Share your own in the comments!

Here is a taste of what is on offer

Click Here: 27 Powerful Street and City Scenes in Black and White

Leica Announces World’s First Digital Camera Dedicated To Black-And-White

Another story about Leicas,

Leica has officially announced its new monochrome digital rangefinder—the world’s first digital camera dedicated to black-and-white photography.

Called ‘Leica M Monochrom’, the company said that the camera a full-frame, 35-mm format digital camera, “designed exclusively and without any compromises for black-and-white photography”. ” Full details here