In the third and final installment of my series on the custom shooting settings I’ve been using with the X-T2, I’ll be covering my black and white setup. As I did in the first post, I’ll share a summary of the settings, discuss the primary uses for the setting, and then go into each of the individual settings in detail and explain how each one relates to the purpose of the overall shooting setting.
– Dynamic Range: 100
– Film Simulation: Acros + Red Filter
– Grain Effect: Off (Experimenting with Weak now)
– White Balance: Auto
– Highlight Tone: +1
– Shadow Tone: +2
– Color: N/A
– Sharpness: +1
– Noise Reduction: –1
Whereas yesterday’s Classic Chrome setting is a (perhaps futile) attempt to satisfy multiple shooting situations, this setup is almost exclusively used in city and street photography. In the past, I’ve used the Monochrome + Red Filter setting for black and white landscape shots, but I haven’t really been shooting many landscapes since this 30 Days challenge began so I haven’t bothered to create a black and white landscape setting yet. The settings in this preset will be pretty similar to yesterday’s Classic Chrome settings, but since this setup doesn’t need to compromise based on other uses I can push the drama and grunginess a bit further.
As you can probably tell from the images in this series, I absolutely love black and white street photography. A lot of this is related to my inability to consistently add color to the story I’m trying to tell when I’m out on the streets. It’s hard enough to get a good shot of the city or its people that tells an interesting story, and when you try to incorporate color into the mix it gets significantly harder. Shooting in black and white helps me simplify things a bit. Of course, I’d love to get to the point where I could incorporate color into my street images a la Saul Leiter and Alex Webb, but for now I’m content to practice with black and white… 🙂
As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been really into high-drama, high-contrast shots on the streets lately. Using a red filter and increasing contrast helps with this a lot. The addition of contrast is straightforward, and as I explained in my investigation of Acros a red filter has the effect of darkening blue skies considerably, which adds even more drama.
As with the Classic Chrome setup, I’m usually looking to add contrast, rather than limit it, when shooting on the streets. As such, I leave this at 100.
I’ve talked about Acros quite a bit during this series, so I won’t repeat myself in this post. The only thing I’ll add is that the texture/grain of Acros is useful on the streets for the high-drama shots I’m looking for. Even though this image is pretty clean, I enjoy the effect that making high-ISO, grainy shots with Acros has on my psyche. That said, when I create a black and white preset for landscape photography, I’ll probably revert to the Monochrome + Red Filter film simulation, as I tend to prefer clean, grain-free landscapes.
The image in today’s post was shot with the Grain Effect set to Off, but I’m currently experimenting with the Weak setting. So far, I haven’t noticed a significant difference, but I also haven’t done any side-by-side comparisons. I’ll probably post more about this in the future.
As I said yesterday, I don’t usually feel the need to mess with white balance and just leave it at Auto for street shooting. It’s important to note that accurate white balance is important for black and white shots, though. This may be surprising to some, but since white balance affects colors and colors affect tone (particularly when filters are applied), white balance can have a big effect on the results of your black and white images.
My logic for setting this at +1 is the same as what I described in yesterday’s post, so I won’t repeat myself here. I might experiment with +2 to get even more extreme contrast, though.
Blacks! I’m loving some really dark shadows these days. I’ve been hugely inspired by Jonas Rask and Jason Peterson in this regard, and as I try to emulate these two I find myself slowly increasing the Shadow Tone. Check back in a month or two and I may be at +3 or even +4… 😉
Again, I enjoy Fuji’s in-camera sharpening, and like to dial it up a bit for street shots to +1.
As I mentioned in the Uses section, I like a little grittiness in my black and white street shots, so I like to turn down Noise Reduction a bit. I’ll need to play around a bit more to find the right balance between the Grain Effect and Noise Reduction settings, but for now I’m content with it at –1.
That’s it for my black and white street photography setup! Feel free to try it out, and if you have any recommendations or different takes on settings for black and white street shots let me know in the comments!