Shooting Digital Black and White
Wednesday, March 29th, 2006 by Kevin T. Gilbert
I love to shoot black and white, especially with digital. Learn how I just did this on the West Wing TV show for NBC. This shot is of Actress Allison Janney walking outside the real White House between takes on location in Washington, DC.
Most digital photographers shy away from b+w shooting because a digital camera is essentially a color-only capture device. If you shoot in JPEG, when you use a camera’s Black and White mode (usually called Monochrome) you loose all your color data.
Blue Pixel Director of Education Reed Hoffmann gave me a great tip on using the D200 to shoot black and white. Shoot the camera in RAW+jpeg (size of your choice—but basic is fine for emails and proofing) and change the cameras capture mode to black and white in the menu settings.
The beauty is the camera LCD shows you black and white images, when you open the files up in any browser, you see black and white images, BUT, the color file is always there in the RAW file, so you have the option to go back to the color original at anytime. My raw editing program of choice is Nikon Capture, but there are a number of other good ones you can use.
I recently used this technique shooting the final days of the West Wing TV show for Warner Brothers. It just looks great and allows you to think and shoot in black and white.