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

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. January 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm — Reply

    As always I love reading what you have written. Your work is amazing and your actions are even more amazing.

    Although I have your sets already I want to win them for a friend!


  2. January 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm — Reply

    Sonia your work is amazing. Very inspiring. I loved what you wrote about seeing light and looking into the soul of the image. Oh, and I have Lightroom. Thanks for sharing.

  3. January 23, 2009 at 10:49 pm — Reply

    Excellent advice…but BEYOND stunning photography. I would love your sets. I use CS2.

  4. January 23, 2009 at 10:57 pm — Reply

    This was a great read. I absolutely love black and white photos, and your work is beyond amazing. Thank you so much for sharing a few of your secrets. I am a Photoshop user who has only recently began taking portraits, and I would love to win one of your action sets. Stacie

  5. January 23, 2009 at 10:57 pm — Reply

    How fun to read this and realize the depth someone feels about photography. It puts things into perspective for me. Thank you for your insight. (PS4)

  6. January 23, 2009 at 11:00 pm — Reply

    I totally agree that you have to be in the moment to really capture the feeling in the shot.. Great article and beautiful images. I’m a photoshop gal myself, and can’t wait to try some of these actions!

  7. January 23, 2009 at 11:04 pm — Reply

    First of all, these images are simply amazing, they make such a statement. I am very inspired by your work and thankful for all you have said. I would be so greatful to have your actions/sets and only hope my photos would do them justice. I have both photoshop and lightroom but find that I do not use lightroom as much… but hey, beggers cant be choosers 🙂 Thank you!!!

  8. January 23, 2009 at 11:05 pm — Reply

    Sonia, thank you so much for your insight I love reading about how passionate people get with photography and your images are amazing. My favorite part is when you quote “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.” just very inspiring. Thank you again for letting us in on your secret!

  9. January 23, 2009 at 11:34 pm — Reply

    Oh my god…
    this TOTALLY makes my uterus TWITCH and WISH i had a baby tumblin’ around the house!! These are precious!!!!!
    photoshop cs2 user

  10. January 23, 2009 at 11:37 pm — Reply

    wow! so, so true and very inspiring. thanks for sharing sonia. you are a true artist.

  11. January 23, 2009 at 11:42 pm — Reply

    Beautiful images, I love your work. I especially liked what you wrote about looking into soul…this is SO true, thanks for the reminder! I have both photoshop cs3 and lightroom 2.

  12. Danielle
    January 23, 2009 at 11:44 pm — Reply

    wow so stunning oh I could only hope to one day be half as good these are beautiful! Great points to think about too I often do not think so much about light other than having enough to take the pic LOL but this really makes me think thank you for sharing this with us (photoshop)

  13. January 23, 2009 at 11:44 pm — Reply

    Jodi and Sonia, I’m moved every time I read you talk about how you create your artwork. Thank you for sharing so passionately. I love your actions and use them solely for my b&w’s…I have dabbled in LR but haven’t dove in yet. Your presets would most certainly make me dive.

  14. January 23, 2009 at 11:45 pm — Reply

    VERY inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing with us. I too, use textures a lot.. and they can add so much to an image (or take away from it). Most shots are wonderful, but those that are really “in the moment” as you said.. they always have that something *extra* that just draws us in!

  15. January 23, 2009 at 11:45 pm — Reply

    I have a photo shoot in the morning and was THRILLED to get to read this blog tonight! You were so right about connecting with your subject, once you do, your photo will speak volumes! THANK YOU for sharing with us. I have PS CS2 and Lightroom. I would be SO honored to use your actions…to your site I go!

  16. January 23, 2009 at 11:55 pm — Reply

    Beautiful images and helpful info. Thanks so much for sharing! I use Lightroom 🙂

  17. Amy Burton
    January 23, 2009 at 11:58 pm — Reply

    Jodi and Sonia! You both are amazing and talented, and so willing to share your knowledge, that is a rareity these days! You both inspire me! Sonia, to hear you talk about your art is very…..moving! Thanks for sharing! I have CS2 and hope to get Lightroom soon!

  18. January 24, 2009 at 12:02 am — Reply

    Wow. Sonia, your images are so beautiful, so real. I love the textures especially and how they make you remember those photos in your grandma’s albums. I really don’t do anything with textures, but Sonia makes me want to try one right now! Thank you for this post Jodi. I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve such beauty, but I feel inspired!

  19. January 24, 2009 at 12:03 am — Reply

    oops, forgot – no Lightroom, only CS3; thanks.

  20. January 24, 2009 at 12:03 am — Reply

    I LOVE reading your blogs. I have learned so much through them. This article is no exception! I am so excited to take what I have learned from this article and use it in my future photo sessions. I know that with it, my sessions will greatly improve! Thank you so much for it! I have PSCS3… I would be so thrilled and excited to be able to use your actions. They are beautiful, and help the pictures tells a story!

  21. January 24, 2009 at 12:07 am — Reply

    Beautiful work. What a connection. Your actions are amazing too! (I have CS2 and Lightroom)

  22. January 24, 2009 at 12:09 am — Reply

    Sonia, thank you sooo much for this article and “sharing your secret”. Your work is truly inspiring and absolutely amazing. Your B&W images are what I strive for mine to be. This article couldn’t have came at a better time for me. I’ve been struggling with converting my images to B&W. I’ve purchased several action sets that have B&W conversions but they don’t really give me the look I want. I would be so blessed to win your action set for photoshop.

  23. Aly
    January 24, 2009 at 12:24 am — Reply

    What you said there was just sooo amazing. It’s really inspiring and so are the images! I’m a color gal, but I definitely would try to do some B/W’s and hopefully fall in love with them as I fell in love with your photos! I have lightroom and mostly use that for my editing. Hopefully, I will get to use your presets and try them!! Thanks!!!

  24. Charlene Hardy
    January 24, 2009 at 12:25 am — Reply

    I am coming over to digital from a film background and these images are like no digital images I have seen. Beautiful work. I am using Photoshop and am now going to your website to see more. Thanks for sharing!!

  25. January 24, 2009 at 12:27 am — Reply

    Her work is awesome! I love it. I always love black and white and have recently been trying to play a bit with them. So this was awesome to read. Thanks so much for it! (PSCS3)

  26. January 24, 2009 at 12:37 am — Reply

    Wow. Great insight and beautiful work. I love “how” you create your stunning images. There is so much heart and emotion involved! Inspiring…. as I LOVE b/w photography. Owning any of your actions/tools would be amazing! Cheers!

    (CS2 & Lightroom2) Thanks! (fingers crossed!)

  27. Nancy
    January 24, 2009 at 12:38 am — Reply

    Wow, thank you Sonia for for sharing how you see light and photography – your words are so inspiring! I think I know these things deep inside of me, but get caught up in what I think I “should” do. So, to see exactly what you are talking about show in your images is very inspiring, not to mention great eye candy! I would love to try your actions, I use PS4. Thanks again ~ Nancy

  28. January 24, 2009 at 12:50 am — Reply

    she’s got it! bringing the old back into today. memories. what else is photography for? good job bohemian art!

  29. January 24, 2009 at 12:51 am — Reply

    oops forgot! CS2 only, no Lightroom. THANKS, jodi!

  30. January 24, 2009 at 12:54 am — Reply

    Absolutely beautiful ! And what a message for all of us! I love the sentence “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.” I will be signing up to read your blog! I would love to win your actions! I have photoshop. There might be hope for me yet!

    Thank you!!

  31. January 24, 2009 at 1:05 am — Reply

    I have been using B&W more and more. For people they just seem to show the person’s soul more than color photography does.

    Jodi, your “take my color away” really changed my approach to B&W and I just love the “chocolate wishes”. We photograph a variety of skin tones and the “chocolate wishes” dos very well with all skin tones.

    Sonia, you have combined the old with the new and breathed new life into black and white photographs. I love your heartfelt philosophy to photography. I would love to win any of your actions. I heard about your actions on Weekly Photography Tips.

    I use Photoshop and Lightroom, depending upon the job, the volume, etc.

  32. January 24, 2009 at 1:09 am — Reply

    Sonia, I have to agree with you…I love the hazy glass aged b&w look of a photo. Your images are so life like. I will defiantly start paying more attention to the lighting when going for a b&w photo. I have lightroom and photoshop CS2 and would LOVE to win one of your actions.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  33. Keshia C
    January 24, 2009 at 1:11 am — Reply

    I love the b&w photos. I love how natural and unposed each photo is. That is exactly what I strive to create with my photos!

  34. Keshia C
    January 24, 2009 at 1:13 am — Reply

    I love the b&w photos. I love how natural and unposed each photo is. That is exactly what I strive to create with my photos! BTW I have photoshop.

  35. Linda
    January 24, 2009 at 1:49 am — Reply

    Beautiful photos. So inspiring I love B&W shots and would love it if mine could look somewhere near as great as yours do.
    I use CS3 and would love to win your great actions.

  36. gina
    January 24, 2009 at 2:01 am — Reply

    these photos are incredible. thank you for this post. (lightroom)

  37. January 24, 2009 at 2:06 am — Reply

    Wow Sonia!!! You are an inspiration……a truly gifted photographer and writer!!!! I loved your article and took a lot out of it. The olden feel you give to your photographs is amazing. I LOVE old photographs and you capture that feeling so very perfectly. The way you see light is touching…. Beautiful work and have now bookmarked you and look forward to reading more from you. Thank-you for the inspirations……:) I have photoshop(CS3) and lightroom but use photoshop more!

  38. January 24, 2009 at 2:26 am — Reply

    Wow is an understatement! Thank you so much for allowing us into your world and sharing your wisdom. Great B&W are definitely tough to achieve but it looks as if you have done so effortlessly. I cannot wait to try your actions and reflect on the info you have shared in my own photography experiences. Thanks again. I have CS3.

  39. Laser
    January 24, 2009 at 2:44 am — Reply

    You have given me a great deal to think about when working with my photos. Your images are absolutely incredible or should I say outstanding and from the heart. Oh how I wish I could win your actions for Photoshop. I am an amaeur that is for sure, but I know your actions would help me to achieve some outstanding photos of my 7 grandchildren.

    Keeping fingers crossed for Photoshop version 🙂

  40. January 24, 2009 at 2:49 am — Reply

    Wow, I’m not sure what to say. Those pictures are so amazingly beautiful and they also make me feel…kind of sad. Melancholy might be a better word. This inspires me to play alot more with black and white, as I tend to stick with color a lot of the time. I just purchased photoshop CS4, so thanks for the information, hopefully I can create some images half as wonderful as these!

  41. January 24, 2009 at 2:53 am — Reply

    WOW WOW WOW! Those photos are amazing and I love the depth they have. Thank you so much for sharing your insight. Photography really is an ART, not just a formula. I have so much to learn. Truly stunning photography work. You’ve inspired me to try harder. I’m a CS3 user.

  42. January 24, 2009 at 3:19 am — Reply

    Thanks for the post! I love the pictures! I want to go practice now. I use cs3.

  43. January 24, 2009 at 3:31 am — Reply

    I really enjoyed reading the article, and the beautiful images. I think that kungfu panda said it best….there is no secret ingredient….we are the secret ingredient! Sonia is definitely the secret ingredient of these beautiful images! Thanks for sharing! I’m ps and lightroom:)

  44. Peggy
    January 24, 2009 at 3:46 am — Reply

    Your images are fantastic I love the black and white conversions I use CS2

  45. January 24, 2009 at 4:05 am — Reply

    beautiful work! i would love to win the lightroom presets.

  46. Kylie
    January 24, 2009 at 4:10 am — Reply

    Sonia, I loved reading every piece of advice you have to give, as a newbie to digital slr’s and manual photography every bit helps, your photographs reflect your advice perfectly, Thank you (oh I have CS2)

  47. Laura Hull
    January 24, 2009 at 4:10 am — Reply

    OMGosh, OMGosh, OMGosh your words move me!!! I love your work… I only have PS right now.

  48. January 24, 2009 at 5:40 am — Reply

    I have ps and lr and I just wanted t o leave my thoughts- black and whites are such art work inthem selves as soon as a client sees black and white images in their proofs they think art work – it is so much easier to get them to think art print when you show them something that is created to inspire a deeper connection and for me black and white does that, I would love to play with your sets- thanks for the chance to win

  49. January 24, 2009 at 6:53 am — Reply

    The capturing of light in your work is beautiful and your words are inspiring…. thank you for sharing.
    My tool of choice is CS3.

  50. January 24, 2009 at 7:24 am — Reply

    a heartfelt post….i feel completely inspired. i think sonia should write a book 🙂 i have LR and CS3 and would LOVE the actions/presets.

  51. Pam Dova
    January 24, 2009 at 7:43 am — Reply

    Her pictures are gorgeous. If only I could take such great shots! I only have CS3.

  52. January 24, 2009 at 8:06 am — Reply

    Wow, this is good stuff. Photoshop user.

  53. January 24, 2009 at 8:09 am — Reply

    Wow, what beautiful images! I loved this post. Like other commenters have said, I’m trying to use B&W more and more, too because it just has a certain “feel” to it. You’ve inspired me to play with the light! 🙂

    I have CS3,4, and Lightroom.

  54. January 24, 2009 at 8:16 am — Reply

    Sonia, Your article has touched and inspired me. You have put into beautiful words what I feel when I am photographing children. I will be returning to these words often. Your work is magical and you are obviously an amazing artist. I’m grateful I got to meet you through Jodi’s blog. I would love to win any of these awesome actions. I have CS3 and Lightroom. May God continue to bless your work.

  55. January 24, 2009 at 8:16 am — Reply

    Love the processing on her images. Simply magical!!!

    I use Photoshop CS3…and if I won, I would become B&W Annie!


  56. carriegel
    January 24, 2009 at 8:34 am — Reply

    your photography is beautiful and so inspiring.
    i have photoshop.

  57. January 24, 2009 at 8:35 am — Reply

    Her images are so old-school black and white, the classic touch that will never go out of style. I love it! I tried just yesterday explaining to a client who wanted help capturing images that it’s all about the light, but she totally didn’t get it. I think this article would be great to share with her.

  58. January 24, 2009 at 8:37 am — Reply

    Beautiful, beautiful work. And the processing adds so much. I have CS3. I am looking for a great reason to buy Lightroom, though. 🙂

  59. January 24, 2009 at 8:51 am — Reply

    Beautiful pieces and I love the character each one has, thank you for sharing your insight and the quote “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.” is so inspiring. I would be honored to win an action set! Thank you again, Julie photoshop cs3 + lightroom user.

  60. Laurie
    January 24, 2009 at 8:55 am — Reply

    Wow! I love the thoughtfulness and love that you put into your work. Amazing!

  61. January 24, 2009 at 9:04 am — Reply

    What amazing pictures! Thank you for sharing your knowledge. NOW I see the “light”!

  62. January 24, 2009 at 9:10 am — Reply

    “to paint with the light and to give the image all the love and meaning” – absolutely perfect – I couldn’t agree more Sonia and you are a wonderful, powerful painter…
    I use CS2 only

  63. January 24, 2009 at 9:20 am — Reply

    Sonia, thank you very much for your thought provoking comments on taking photographs and looking within. To master the light and the dark as you are taking photos is something I have only thought a little about as I take photos. I am going to start taking this more in mind as I take photos. Thank you for your comments and words. I have photoshop and would love to win your actions.

  64. Gina Fensterer
    January 24, 2009 at 9:28 am — Reply

    What an inspiring article!! I love what she has to say about painting with light, and the heart and soul behind the photo. She has reminded me that photography is more than just technical knowledge, it’s about passion, and capturing–as best we can–the emotion we feel when we’re seeing through the lens. This is so meaningful to me as almost all of my photos are of family, who I love dearly. I want all my photos to reflect my love and their personalities!

    Thank you for this article.

    I have PS CS and Lightroom. 🙂

  65. Jeanine
    January 24, 2009 at 9:32 am — Reply

    Very inspiring article. Thanks so much for shedding more light on the wonder of black and white photography. It takes me back to my photography roots as my dad was a photographer in WWII and I have fond memories of our days in the basement darkroom as he continued his craft in the 70s, with framed pics of people in the war, framed on the wall.

    Jeanine – CS4

  66. January 24, 2009 at 9:35 am — Reply

    Excellent images. I think using textures really does wonders when used properly. That is something I am just starting to learn and play with.

    Thanks for the advice!

    I use PS and Lightroom but use PS for my image enhancements, LR is only used for image selection, cropping and straightening, WB and sorting for web gallery.

  67. Diane Stewart
    January 24, 2009 at 9:41 am — Reply

    Jodi and Sonia, Thank you so much for the article. I love the B&W on your photos, It just seems to capture and bring the viewer into the moment. The kids all muddy in the wagon, made me laugh and remember back in time to when I was a kid….with my brothers. I use Photoshop CS4.

  68. January 24, 2009 at 9:50 am — Reply

    I’ve always loved taking pictures, though I’ve only just begun learning photography. Photography is an art, an art that I am wrapping myself around. Finding an artist who is willing to give such great detailed insite is a blessing. I thank you! I’m wrapping myself around Photoshop also……….but a great photoshopped photo starts with the photo…….I’m learning that!

    Love your art and your talent and your gratiousness for sharing!

    Cindy – Photoshop 7

  69. January 24, 2009 at 10:06 am — Reply

    Those images are really inspiring. I really liked listening to more about the theology of a good b&w image instead of technical details.

    Kara – Photoshop CS4

  70. Kathy M
    January 24, 2009 at 10:10 am — Reply

    Sonia, I love your photography. Your art of capturing the light in your black and white photographs is amazing. Thank you for sharing some of your secrets. I own PSCS3 and Lightroom and love your actions and presents.

  71. Amy Mann
    January 24, 2009 at 10:22 am — Reply

    Thank yo uso much for this great info! I can’t wait to apply some of it. I am so excited to see this on here as I had also heard about “The Secret” and was wanting to learn more! Thanks for sharing!

  72. January 24, 2009 at 10:29 am — Reply

    Very interesting. BEautiful images. I have both Lightroom & PSCS2

  73. January 24, 2009 at 10:36 am — Reply

    wow – truly inspiring! Light (and heart) is so important and your images convey both perfectly. I would love the action set, although I also use lightroom.

  74. January 24, 2009 at 10:38 am — Reply

    beautiful work. i am especially inspired by your comment to not be afraid – that any moment is a good moment for a photograph. you never know what gift will come along. thank you. (i am a cs3 user)

  75. Silvina
    January 24, 2009 at 10:39 am — Reply

    Very beautiful images, i LOVE the last two….I use CS3…thank you!

  76. terri
    January 24, 2009 at 10:43 am — Reply

    These photos are awe inspiring. Thank you Jodi for including this in your blog. Thank you Sonia for your help and inspiration.

    Thank you

  77. terri
    January 24, 2009 at 10:44 am — Reply

    I forgot to put I am cs4 user.

  78. Kori
    January 24, 2009 at 10:49 am — Reply

    These photos are amazing and the actions give them an extra umph to die for. I would love to get them! I use Photoshop CS3. Thanks!

  79. Becky
    January 24, 2009 at 11:02 am — Reply

    This was a great read! Photos are just amazing!


  80. January 24, 2009 at 11:18 am — Reply

    Those photos are incredible. What wonderful information! Thank you for sharing. I use both photoshop and lightroom.

  81. January 24, 2009 at 11:38 am — Reply

    Thankyou for your words. I am inpsired to look and create a little bit differently now. Your art is beautiful and I appreciate your willingness to teach and share with others. I would love to recieve your actions. (photoshop cs2 user).

  82. Amanda
    January 24, 2009 at 11:40 am — Reply

    Beautiful way to approach it.
    I’ll try looking harder at the light and what it can do – not just how it will expose it.

  83. Lydia
    January 24, 2009 at 11:50 am — Reply

    Pure EMOTION is what I hear in your words and see in your photography- Thank you for sharing. CS3

  84. January 24, 2009 at 11:51 am — Reply

    I think your photos are amazing! I love how you have used the light, especially in the photo of the child playing the piano in his/her room! I love the look of black and white photos and will often convert my photos using Lightroom 2 or Photoshop CS3. However, I now do 99% of my processing in Lightroom so would love to win your presets for that! Thank you for this chance to win!

  85. January 24, 2009 at 12:06 pm — Reply

    I love your story…i think it speaks to everyone who loves the richness of black and white photos, thanks for the inspiration! I’m a photoshop gal 🙂

  86. January 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm — Reply

    I adore the article! Light is such a huge part of our photography and I’ve really been studying and admiring it lately. I so love your work. I have photoshop and lightroom 🙂

  87. January 24, 2009 at 12:34 pm — Reply

    Love you b&w images! This was the first time I had seen your work. I have CS3

  88. Debbie G
    January 24, 2009 at 12:47 pm — Reply

    Sonia: I love your article and your actions. Amazing, beautiful work. I have Photoshop CS3. Thanks.

  89. Patti
    January 24, 2009 at 1:02 pm — Reply

    I think that most people underestimate the power of a candid. Some of the best photos of my kids are when they are not even aware that they are being photographed.

    Thank you for your beautiful inspiration!

  90. January 24, 2009 at 1:10 pm — Reply

    Thanks for sharing all your tips. Awesome tips and photo’s 🙂
    I have Photoshop 7 and Lightroom

  91. January 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm — Reply

    WOW. Those photos really jumped out at me; they are truly timeless, and really show the ageless beauty of children – they could easily have been taken 20 years ago! I really love them ans am going to pop over to your site now for a peek! I’m on PS CS4 btw. Thanks for a lovely post.

  92. January 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm — Reply

    Wow, what incredible photos. I am inspired… challenged… and in awe!

    Please enter me. I use Photoshop.

  93. Lori
    January 24, 2009 at 6:24 pm — Reply

    Sonia your work is amazing and you are a gifted writer as well.

    I have the Secret actions and just love them. Having the LR presets would complete the package. My favorite tool is the magic light action. I even use it on color images. CS3 plus LR.

  94. January 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm — Reply

    Beautiful work! Your work is like telling a story! I am a CS3 user.

  95. SandraC
    January 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm — Reply

    Just an amazing article. Thank you Sonia! I haven’t heard from you before, but now I’m intrigued! It really hit me when you talked about your innerself. But it is oh so true. I often see pictures that I could’ve taken myself, or was there myself, but did not end up with the same pics. And I blame myself I didn’t put more of me into it. I’m a Photoshop user, and would really like to try out a good B&W action. Thanks!!

  96. January 24, 2009 at 1:49 pm — Reply

    Sonia what an inspiring article! I have always loved black and white photography and your words really struck a cord with me. It can be a beautiful spring day with vibrant flowers and brilliant sun but sometimes when I look through the lens I’m picturing how beautiful it would also look in black and white. Thank you for sharing your passion!

    PS CS3 user

  97. January 24, 2009 at 2:16 pm — Reply

    Thank you for that wonderful interview and sharing those amazing photos. Personally, I feel that B&Ws are the soul of photography. The blacks and whites, and all the grays in between, make for an extraordinarily rich and deeply focused photograph. I am constantly looking for ways to make my digital photos look like the amazing B&W of old. You know, the real true B&W that I see in old books when only film was used. Those gorgeous gritty lights and darks make me swoon. And you have nailed that look. Honestly, the photos here are the closest I’ve seen to the old school B&W film (and I’ve looked at hundreds of photos in an effort to replicate that look). The photo of the child playing with spigot, and the one just below that with three boys, are fantastic in my eyes. All of these photos are outstanding, but those two remind me so much of a real vintage B&W film. Your composition is breathtaking, simply breathtaking. Thank you again, and thanks MCP, for bringing us this fabulous and talented woman for an interview. I currently use both Photoshop and Lightroom to process my photos.

  98. January 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm — Reply

    these are great! i especially love the ones that have the textures added in…thanks for sharing! (i use Photoshop CS3)

  99. Betsy
    January 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm — Reply

    I was struck by the spirituality of the blog. Photography is a chance to capture a timeless moment. I am just beginning to understand “drawing with light.” I tend to take photographs of nature rather than people because it is far less intimidating. I am still using PS Elements and have not yet graduated to CS. Love your work.

  100. January 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm — Reply

    Your work is just beautiful! Thanks for your insights. Photoshop

  101. January 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm — Reply

    what a great share! these pictures are amazing! i love the natural look to all these pics and how each and everyone of them tells its own story

  102. Marlie
    January 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm — Reply

    Sonia, your actions are amazing and your black and white work makes me want to improve my photos and also how I work with black and white images. Thank you for sharing your expertise. I love a great black and white image and yours are inspiring. I work with both Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom 2.2.

  103. NiccoleCarol
    January 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm — Reply

    Sonia your work is incredible. I so would use the heck out of these. I especially love the hazed over ones. Oh, I have CS3.

  104. January 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm — Reply

    Gorgeous and inspirational! I loved hearing about your personal thought process and philosophy. It’s so rare to see the technical combined with the emotional and it just helps so much to see how you think. Very freeing in a way. Thanks so much for sharing and I would love either set, but especially the PS actions.

  105. January 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm — Reply

    wow, what lovely work! I’m glad to be introduced to Sonia!

  106. Amy Mann
    January 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    Sorry for a second post but I forgot to mention that I use Photoshop (CS2, but getting ready to upgrade and explore Lightroom).


  107. January 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    So inspiring…I love the way you look at and feel painting with light. Beautiful, beautiful images and wonderful way of approaching your precious subjects. The photographs convey so much. Thank you for sharing. I use CS2.

  108. January 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm — Reply

    Sonia’s images are classic. They will never go out of style. I loved that she explained how we have to put ourselves into the soul of the image. Even with great light, each person who took a picture of the same image would come up with something different. We all compare ourselves to other photographer’s omages too much. Thanks for the great tips. I’m a Photoshop user.

  109. January 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm — Reply

    WOW I love the one w/ the boys in the wagon these Black and whites are amazing. I am a photoshop user. thank you for taking the time to tell a few of your secrets!

  110. Jenny Carroll
    January 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm — Reply

    Reading through this article makes me want to be a much better photographer, learning about people, taking not just a “picture” but a moment in time. Thanks for the great inspiration. As said many times, your work is amazing. I have CS3 and LR.

  111. January 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm — Reply

    Great article and a great reminder that photography is all about light! Thank you for sharing! CS3 and LR girl here.

  112. Christy
    January 24, 2009 at 8:48 pm — Reply

    Sonia, your b&w conversions are fabulous! Thanks for your tips on how to view b&w as showing off with light since you can’t use color–I’d never thought of it that way, and that really helps it to click. I’ll have to give b&w much more thought and time!

    I am a PS user, btw.


  113. January 24, 2009 at 10:26 pm — Reply

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I will definitely be thinking a lot about your article. Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial. (CS4 & Lightroom)

  114. January 24, 2009 at 10:29 pm — Reply

    I LOVED the article, and couldn’t agree more! Its more than just an “action” that makes a great photo (or BW photo for that matter). You have to be able to SEE the light, frame the subject, capture the emotion, etc. Great processing afterwards will accentuate all of these things if they were done well to start with. Thanks for posting the article. (PS -I do have PS and Lightroom)

  115. January 24, 2009 at 11:28 pm — Reply

    Her work is beautiful! I love what she said about there being no “right or wrong” way to shoot light. I agree completely! I would love to win her photoshop actions as I do not have lightroom (but hope to someday)

  116. January 24, 2009 at 11:38 pm — Reply

    What encouraging advice! Thank you for the lesson – I want to become a better observer of light! I’m a photoshop user . . .

  117. Jan Moller jensen
    January 25, 2009 at 4:18 am — Reply

    Amazing amazing, fantastic pictures, beautiful look. i no that the plugins doesn’t do it all, but could i just come a little bit close 🙂
    (CS3 and LR)
    Jan Moller

  118. January 25, 2009 at 5:14 am — Reply

    Your work is so beautiful, Sonia! Such a great article, thank you for sharing! I have both Photoshop and Lightroom, mainly use PS though.

  119. Ann Kantola
    January 25, 2009 at 6:54 am — Reply

    These are amazing! I am so inspired after looking at your photography. I use cs4

  120. Pam Davis
    January 25, 2009 at 1:29 pm — Reply

    Thank you Jodi for sharing Bohemian Art on your blog this is the second time this week that I have been directed to the Bohemian Art website. The images are stunning and the way you read the light Sonia is inspiring. I would love to win a set of these actions currently I have CS3.

  121. January 25, 2009 at 8:46 am — Reply

    Sonia, Thank you for your hints of wisdom concerning light. I have a little girl who I am constantly capturing and is the inspiration for my photography, so I loved the photos you have on your site of children. I use Photoshop for creating works of art for our family 🙂 and hope to expand and shoot photos of other families in the future!

  122. January 25, 2009 at 9:15 am — Reply

    Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing.

  123. January 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    This is the second time this week that someone has directed me to Bohemian Secret! It’s a sign 🙂 I need those actions. I enjoyed reading what is behind the actions. The images are beautiful and have inspired me to try more b&ws.

  124. January 25, 2009 at 12:26 pm — Reply

    This is the second time this week that someone has directed me to Bohemian Secret! It’s a sign 🙂 I need those actions. I enjoyed reading what is behind the actions. The images are beautiful and have inspired me to try more b&ws. Forgot to add that I have CS3 and LR.

  125. Heather
    January 25, 2009 at 1:31 pm — Reply

    Wonderful article and also very inspiring. Her BWs are exquisite.

    Please enter me, I have CS3.

  126. Simone
    January 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm — Reply

    Stunning photography and gorgeous convertions!! A super talented lady for sure. I would be an extremely happy camper to be chosen for those actions and presets.

  127. Jan Moller Jensen
    January 25, 2009 at 2:37 pm — Reply

    Amazing amazing, fantastic pictures, beautiful look. I know that the plugins doesn’t do it all, but could i just come a little bit close 🙂
    (CS3 and LR)
    Jan Moller

  128. January 25, 2009 at 3:07 pm — Reply

    These are simply delicious! Very nostalgic and they have a very “film” feel to them!

  129. January 25, 2009 at 5:09 pm — Reply

    thank you everyone for your lovely comments … they are so special to me … the more, where I can feel that it has touched the string in you and resonates to the same deep knowing we all have and that I love to share by giving it form in our lovely being …
    once again Thank You all who stopped and spared few many letters to let us know how you feel ..

  130. January 25, 2009 at 5:27 pm — Reply

    WOW! Simply WOW! I think after reading this you have really motivated me to see things differently with my eyes and camera. (cs3)

  131. January 25, 2009 at 5:50 pm — Reply

    I love what Sonia says in here! I tried shooting in black and white way back in the film days, and that was hard. I’m wondering… does she shoot in black and white at all or are these all conversions? I think I’d like to see the color versions, if possible.

    Thanks so much for this! I came to read it just as I was preparing to work on converting one of my own photos. 😀

  132. ShellyS
    January 25, 2009 at 7:01 pm — Reply

    Sonia, your images are truly soulful and inspirational! They light my heart to my own childhood memories. I would love, love, love, to win one of your action sets for CS4! Keep on shining on.

  133. January 25, 2009 at 7:28 pm — Reply

    I LOVE your work. Thanks for the article. I am a PS user and would love a chance to try out your product.

  134. Kimi Boustany
    January 25, 2009 at 7:38 pm — Reply

    oh WOW!! The images are fantastic!! I have been trying so hard to study light. Would love, love to be picked as one of the lucky winners.
    I have CS3 and LR.

  135. January 25, 2009 at 10:45 pm — Reply

    Those are fantastic images and wonderful memories that you’ve captured as well. I use both lightroom and CS3.

  136. January 25, 2009 at 10:54 pm — Reply

    I’ve run into Sonia’s stuff before and I LOVE her style! She has great stuff about light and capturing the right moment! I have lots of practicing to do!!
    I would want the Photoshop version of the actions if I won!! I hope! I hope!

  137. Natalie
    January 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm — Reply

    wow!!! never seen Sonia work before !!! beautiful , amazing i just love it !!!!

    i have cs3 and lightroom

  138. JoAnne Bacon
    January 25, 2009 at 11:22 pm — Reply

    These images are beautiful, black and white is so timeless and your lighting makes it even more so. I rarely win anything but you never know! I have Lighroom and CS4. Thank you!

  139. Lauren
    January 25, 2009 at 11:57 pm — Reply

    Sonia, these are fantastic images! Thank you for sharing your “secret”!!!
    And, Jodi, Thank YOU for introducing us to Sonia! I LOVE your blog!!

  140. January 26, 2009 at 10:07 am — Reply

    Gorgeous B&Ws. Love them. I have CS3.

  141. January 26, 2009 at 3:45 pm — Reply

    Sonia, wonderful photos, thank you so much for the tutorial! I have been trying to master really great black and whites so this came at just the right time! I would love to win some of your actions, I use photoshop cs2. Thanks!!!

  142. Nicole
    January 26, 2009 at 8:08 pm — Reply

    I love what she said about it coming from within YOU 🙂

    I use both CS3 and Lightroom 🙂

    Thank you!

  143. tracy
    January 26, 2009 at 10:11 pm — Reply

    a whole new way of looking at things… amazing! i have ps cs only. thanks for the beautiful article!

  144. January 26, 2009 at 11:21 pm — Reply

    Those images are stunning! I especially love the first one and the girl with the petti. Thank you for a great article and for sharing the “secret”! I have both Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom.

  145. January 27, 2009 at 2:52 am — Reply

    Thank you, I have seen your work before and I love what you do with your processing. To top it off you added my favorite quote, from Little Prince! Thanks so much for this, both of you! Oh, all most forgot… I have both PS and LR.

  146. Candice
    January 27, 2009 at 11:08 am — Reply

    Thank you soo much for all of the advice. I am excited to have found your blog! I am an avid reader of MCP blog and had never heard of this until now. Thank you again Jodi and Sonia. I have CS4 and Lightroom.

  147. Robin
    January 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm — Reply

    Since the days of having my own darkroom, I have long-preferred b/w images. They evoke in me a feeling of timelessness that color just cannot capture. Sonia, you have definitely caught the light, the emotion, and preserved it for the ages…your work is absolutely beautiful. I’m very anxious to try your Presets for Lightroom!

  148. January 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm — Reply

    Great article. I have always loved BW photography just for that reason – it shows the soul. Thank you both. I have PS and hope to have LR very soon!

  149. January 27, 2009 at 2:30 pm — Reply

    I am new to this blog but an avid storyteller of lifes journey through photographs. I find not only your images inspiring but your willingness to freely share of yourself as an artist refreshing! Thank you for this article….I dont feel one can ever be reminded enough to slow down and truly take in all that is around them. And…if you can use what you find to create a beautiful portrait… well then a day well spent I say! I have CS2 and LR.

  150. January 28, 2009 at 12:22 am — Reply

    Wonderful images – I am finding more frequently, too, that textures add so much more depth to an image. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts with us.

  151. January 28, 2009 at 1:21 pm — Reply

    This was great! I love black and white photos! How intresting!!
    Thanks for sharing with us all!!
    I use Photoshop!

  152. January 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm — Reply

    Sonia you are amazing xxx

  153. January 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm — Reply

    I really like what you wrote… so true that we need to see the light before we can expect great photography! That last photo with the violins is perfect. Love it! I too would love your actions… I use CS3 and LR version 1.

  154. Carrie
    January 28, 2009 at 8:51 pm — Reply

    GREAT photos and I understand what you are saying about looking from within. I would love to learn more theory and working with your actions in Photoshop!

  155. January 28, 2009 at 10:48 pm — Reply

    truly stunning images and great advice

  156. Ingrid
    January 29, 2009 at 6:10 am — Reply

    There is something to be said about an image devoid of vibrant colour, your eyes are drawn to textures and shadows/light. I think you spend more time looking at an image in B&W and yours Sonia, are truly beautiful. The skill required to see past the colour of images and create B&W portraits eludes me, which is why I rely on talented people like yourselves who take the time to share their skills. (CS3)

  157. Stephanie
    January 30, 2009 at 4:29 am — Reply

    Hi Sonia, you truly have a gifted eye and your photos are simply amazing. I find that there is always something new I learn about myself and photography each day. You are an inspiration to others such as myself to find the inner light within us. Thank you for sharing something about yourself and your secret! (I use lightroom & photoshop)

  158. Kate
    May 3, 2009 at 4:29 am — Reply

    WOW WOW WOW what amazing images! Can’t wait to see more!

  159. October 19, 2010 at 8:47 pm — Reply

    Лично, я считаю, что Яндекс – Хороший поисковик!

  160. January 8, 2011 at 9:33 am — Reply

    I think about B&W the same way – something strikes me….usually in nature and I see the variation, the light, the dark, etc. Hope to get out there today with falling snow. 🙂 I also have a very intent black and white dog – he is an incredible subject. He is truly a photogenic dog!

    (Photoshop please – I’m an Aperture and Photoshop user)

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

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

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

    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

  163. February 10, 2011 at 11:34 am — Reply

    Beautiful images . Thanks so much for sharing

  164. February 28, 2011 at 11:55 am — Reply

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  165. June 21, 2011 at 8:47 am — Reply

    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.

  166. December 11, 2011 at 10:35 am — Reply

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

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