by Florence W Deems

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For this exercise, choose several scenes or subjects to shoot in both color and then in black and white (monochrome). Use either a tripod or some other device for getting the camera to remain steady and aimed in the same direction while shooting.

Why do this? Well, some scenes and subjects you may like better in color, while others you may like better in black and white. You'll never know unless you try this. Some pro photographers always shoot in color; others shoot only in monochrome; some shoot both. Sometimes if you want to emphasize the shapes that make up a scene or object, these shapes render better in black and white without the distraction of colors. In some other situations in which all the colors seem to have the same light intensity (value), you will need the various colors to help differentiate one object from the others in the scene.

If your camera will shoot in B&W as well as color, you're all set. But if it'll shoot only in color, then you'll have to use an image editor, such as Photoshop (Elements or CS for either pc or Apple), Paint Shop Pro (only for pc), or another type of image editing software. Adobe (makers of Photoshop) also has what they call Lightroom which will do many things that Photoshop will do. Apple makes Aperture, which is their answer to Lightroom.

But buying these may be more than you want to spend, especially if you really don't want to do any editing of your images in the future. Do be reminded, however, that all pros edit their images before they release them. Anyway, if you really can't shoot in B&W and don't have any image editing software that will convert color to B&W, take the memory card to one of the pharmacy chains or Walmart where you can insert it into one of their machines. They usually have an option to convert to B&W before printing. If unsure of this, just ask them for help.

Absolutely the best way to convert from color to B&W is to shoot in color first. A color image will have more information for you to adjust than will the same image shot in B&W. Your imaging software, such as Photoshop, will have an adjustment layer for B&W that will allow you to selectively lighten or darken certain colors in the image, even though you are looking at it in B&W.

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