Photo Challenge - See and shoot in black and white

Kirk is one of the employees at The Brass Knob in Adams Morgan. Click on the image to see more of my black & white images in their antique store.Rainbows and sunsets can be beautiful subjects -- for another challenge. Not this one. For this challenge, we will practice seeing and shooting in black and white.

One effective way of improving your photo composition and creativity is by limiting your options. Less can be more...creative. In this challenge, we will practice less is more by excluding color.

Today's camera and software technology make it easy to create black and white images with two different approaches. 

Capture it in camera - Most digital cameras allow you to use a setting that captures your photos in black and white jpeg. When you use this choice, your camera will discard all the colors and keep your black and white image. This can be a fun option to see what your subject looks like as you are shooting, especially if you are training your eye to see in monochrome. Remember most cameras will not capture black and white if you are using your Raw setting. If you prefer to keep both, try Raw + jpeg.

Create it in post - Just about all photo editing software will allow you to strip away color and create your black and white image. This has the obvious advantage of allowing you to go back and add color. You have the most flexibility with the Raw format, but you will be learning to see in black and white when you are at your computer, not behind the camera.

What should you shoot? One of the benefits of black and white photos is in removing potentially distracting colors. That unintended splash of red or orange that pulls the eye away from your portrait can be eliminated by going monochrome. Can't get the white balance just right? No need in black and white.

Without the distraction of color, your viewer is freed to focus more on composition, shapes, color, texture, lines and so on. That means you should be giving those elements more careful scrutiny as well. 

Take the Challenge 

Now it's your turn. Take the challenge of creating an image without the distraction of colors. Make it black and white in camera or in post production. 

Share your images with us

When you have your photo, share it in our Photo Projects 2013 Google + Community or link to it in the comments below.  

Photo challenge - Make something ordinary look interesting

Just another bench...

Recently I created a photo tutorial called Just a Bench, where I showed you how to make any subject look interesting. Now it's your turn.

But first... Just another bench.

I was strolling out of a store one afternoon when I saw this bench. It was just a regular bench. After using some of the same steps from the tutorial, I created this close up that featured a repeating pattern.

Take the Challenge 

Now it's your turn. Here's today's photo challenge. Find something ordinary and try to make it look interesting. Pick something you might have walked by without noticing, and find an interesting way to photograph it. Feel free to share before and after pictures. We might enjoy knowing what inspired you.


Share your images with us

When you have your photo, share it in our Photo Projects 2013 Google + Community or link to it in the comments below. 

Before -- Here is the bench I photographed. This is how I started the process.

Photo challenge - Patriotism

Flickr photo by ejbSF.

Breathes there the man with soul so dead 
Who never to himself hath said, 
This is my own, my native land! 

~Sir Walter Scott

The words of Sir Walter Scott speak to me as I think of an appropriate challenge for this week. In America, especially in Washington, DC, we are going through one of the exercises in our democracy, the presidential inauguration.


The Challenge

Let's take a step back from the events of Inauguration Day and focus on the broader theme, Patriotism. How would you illustrate the concept? 

Remember, these photo challenges are broad to give you wide latitude to be creative. I plan to go find something in Washington, D.C., on Monday that speaks to me, and I will post it then. Those of you in other countries, I'm looking forward to seeing how you share your own, your native land.

Patriotism. Post early and often.


Share your images with us

Once you have a great photo, post it in the comments or in our Google + Photo Projects 2013 community.

Join the Photo Projects 2013 community.

Photo Challenge 2013 - Begin with your Beginnings

This is how I begin my day -- a cup of coffee and a scan of my email and social networks. From what I hear, many of you might also have some variation of that ritual. If you don't, no big deal. I just used that as a literal example for our first theme - Beginnings.

Listen to your first photo challenge.The start of a new year and a new project lends itself to this theme. You can interpret it in any way your creativity leads you. Just take a photo that expresses that theme to you.

When you have your photo, share it in our Photo Projects 2013 Google + Community or link to it in the comments below. 


About the Photo Projects 2013 Community

Our photo projects community is designed to help us improve our photography this year in four ways:

  • Inspiration - as we see what our friends and peers create in their own projects.
  • Motivation - to stick to our photo projects and work them regularly.
  • Accountability - from the peer pressure of announcing your intentions and creating a network of accountabilty partners.
  • Support - from the resources and knowledge from your group members.

In addition to our photo challenges, share your Project 365 or Project 52 photos (one a day or one a week), 100 Strangers, or personal photo project.

Here's a blog post I wrote to help you come up with ideas for your personal photo project.

Our first challege begins with two assignments. Join the Photo Projects 2013 community and post your first photo.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you create.

Listen to your photo challenge