One class we teach during our online Creative Camera Class is shooting in black and white. Black and white was the original foundation in photography, and I love the pure design aspects of it. General post processing wisdom says shoot in color and convert in black and white. But we take a different approach during our online class assignment; shoot in black and white, and worry about color later.
Similar to using filters, I find I shoot differently in the field when I get instant feedback. Shooting in BW in-camera really changes what I look for in an image. Try this exercise. Set your file quality to RAW, but go to your shooting menu and choose Monochrome as your color space. With Nikon cameras, go to Shooting Menu, Set Picture Control and choose monochrome. When you are taking images in the field, the LCD playback image will be in black and white (it is camera generated JPEG). But when you open those same RAW images in the computer they will come in as color…remember with RAW images you have the ability to change color profiles in the computer. So in the RAW editor you can convert to BW just like you saw it in the field. Awesome, best of both worlds!
Cree and I spend a couple hours in our town last weekend shooting in BW in-camera. While I knew many qualities that make a good BW image, reviewing my LCD really changed how I composed shots. Some subjects like plant leaves transformed into beautiful BW images. A simple spiral staircase came alive as a BW image. I really began to focus on the graphic qualities that improve an image…without the bias of color. This creative exercise will get you thinking in a different way, and help improve creativity. I don’t shoot in BW a lot, but when I do, I always enjoy the process. We all have a little extra time right now…give it a try, you might just like it!