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The Secret to Black and White Photography * Enter a Contest to Win B&W Actions/Presets *

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

The Secret to Black and White Photography * Enter a Contest to Win B&W Actions/Presets *

About a month ago I started hearing the buzz. There was a new secret – a secret from a woman named Sonia who had incredible black and white images. I was curious. So I contacted her to learn more. And though I do not personally do a lot of black and white work and I do have some actions within some of my sets for black and white, I had to see what all the noise was about.

Once I did, I was sold (so to speak). Now she will be sharing a little of her secret here, today with us. Welcome Sonia from Bohemian Secret as our guest blogger today.

3 lucky winners will get to own her “Secret” products. 1 will win her combination set (of both photoshop actions and presets for lightroom, 1 will win the actions, and 1 will win the lightroom presets). So 3 amazing prizes.

All you have to do is comment on your thoughts on her article below. Please mention if you have Photoshop or Lightroom or both so that you do not win a prize that will not work for you. Winners will be picked on Friday, January 30th.  Good luck everyone!

She also has agreed to give a 15% off discount to all MCP Actions Readers. Go to BOHEMIAN SECRET – use the code 91b1abe3c5.

It’s about Light and You

What is the key success to beautiful B&W image? I have been asked many times how to achieve the result B&W images similar to what I do. Is there a secret to a successful conversion? Are there any more secrets apart from the processing?

Jodi asked me to write a mini tutorial for her blog so here it is …

There are many ways how to convert image to B&W using Photoshop. You can desaturate, use the monochrome, duotone tri tone features, use channel mixer, gradient map, calculations followed by curves, levels and other layers …. but how to achieve THAT! look .. that feel of B&W image being a beautiful B&W image .. it is not only about post processing … more than anything

it is all about light and You in the moment while capturing your image.

As many of you might know, the word “photography” comes from the Greek φώς (phos) γραφίς (graphis) which actually means “drawing with light”.

So said, one of the secrets to beautiful image (regardless colour) is light … for b&Wphotography especially. There is no way one can impress with colours in B&W image, Tocreate it, one has to master the light (and of course dark..)

When taking a B&W image all it matters is the light and the way it “paints itself” on the subject(s) … light gives the depth to the B&W image and “speaks” about all there is visible with eyes … many people don’t even think about it but I do see it as a very important point to photography itself .. without light there would be no photography ..

There is no right or wrong when “exercising” photography skills with light … one can shoot against it … or with it at the back .. coming from the side, above or below … as long as the exposure is close to good and light thoughtfully used .. (I personally tend to underexpose and later bring up the details while processing the image.) there is a good chance in creating a decent B&W image.


One of my favorite books is A.de Saint Exupery’s Little Prince. I often get reminded of this quote when talking about B&W photography: “Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Once I have read that even Ansel Adams would had been an average Joe if he did not master light in his darkroom .. I disagreed a bit as if there was not a good basis to the exposure of his negatives in a first place, it would be difficult to achieve such depth to his images as much as he could try in darkroom … but what makes his work so spectacular is in my opinion Him …


… well here is where another big part of a successful B&W photography takes its place … as all you see with your eyes is not all there is (including the light) .. It is very important that one photographs with his/her heart or soul and looks within for the reflections of it deep inside the photographed subject (have you ever noticed how when shooting with someone, one can capture an image in the same instant moment, from the same angle with the same light yet it may look so much different to someone else’s? )…


Its all about the I within .. about You … the beingness of all that you are in the moment and about reflection of it in the subject that in the same moment you happen to capture .. When a photographer becomes aware of her/his own I regardless form .. it is so much easier to connect to his model or subject and see their beauty as is … feel the importance, the depth of it and of the exact moment .. which will then be captured on a whole different level an this way the image will gain the depth and feel of being timeless .. as the now is eternal and timeless … The moment a photographer puts awareness in all of these mentioned … there is nothing that can stop him/her in achieving a beautiful B&W image using any of the Photoshop conversions I have mentioned above …




(except the girl’s petti … nothing in these images was posed)


The key point of the technical part of finishing the B&W image in Photoshop is to continue to work with the light and the feel … to paint with the light and to give the image all the love and meaning, while discovering hidden details in both light and dark parts of the image and blending them so they feel just right …


But apart from what I have already mentioned, I often get inspired by the olden days film images that are touched by their age and show few scratches and marks or the hazy glass plate negative effect … and personally love to add textures. A well blended texture has an amazing ability to “save” a pretty ordinary shot and turn it into a piece of art of love …



And maybe be just one more thing before I finish … don’t be afraid … any moment is a good moment for a photograph … including moments like these …



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  1. Bertus
    January 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm —

    Beautiful images and i love what you are saying about “feeling” the photo and photographing with your heart!!

  2. Ann
    February 10, 2011 at 11:20 am —

    Beautiful, has reinspired me to play again with black and white as I see your amazing photos. Thanks for sharing. I have both lightroom and photoshop

  3. February 10, 2011 at 11:34 am —

    Beautiful images . Thanks so much for sharing

  4. February 28, 2011 at 11:55 am —

    After avoiding the wave of protests sweeping the Middle East for months, Oman has entered its third day of continuous economic demonstrations. Local media is reporting that demonstrators have set fire to a supermarket, cars, a police station, houses, and the governor’s residence amid protests http://123144.csmonitor.com – calling for economic hswhfjweidjwejdjan21123h12 calling for economic improvements and government reform .

  5. June 21, 2011 at 8:47 am —

    yes it’s true. One of the most essential element is the “You” factor. It’s the same as almost any field of art. You might have the same tools as someone else, but how you use it, how you think while using it, and why you use it depends upon the artist, a step that no one can perfectly retrace.

    Thank you though. You have reminded me, and taught me the wonders of the light/dark elements.

  6. December 11, 2011 at 10:35 am —

    Congrats for getting your site mentioned in the ebook here! http://doiop.com/LootFormula

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The Secret to Black and White Photography * Enter a Contest to Win B&W Actions/Presets *