Thursday, January 16, 2014

Black and White Book Club: Michael Freeman

Everyone is invited to join in the Black and White Book Club (and Flash of Color February) for the month of February. The idea is to join a group of photographers in reading a relevant photography book during the course of a month, while also applying the techniques and strategies of the book to your daily photography. There was a great turnout and interest for our last book club in August, and you can read the weekly posts and updates about it, if you are curious (Overview about the August Book ClubWeek 1Reflections on Week 1, Week 2Week 3, and Week 4.) We are also continuing in the tradition of Flash of Red February, started by @olivetreeann last year, and you can see examples of the finishers' monthly layouts here. (Mine is below.)

For the month of February, we will be reading either Michael Freeman's The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography or Michael Freeman Black and White Photography Field Guide. (The Field Guide is a slightly slimmed down version of The Complete Guide, but the vast majority of the text and examples are the same, just in a smaller, more conveniently-sized package. If you really want to stare at the subtle differences in some of the example images, however, I recommend the larger size of The Complete Guide.) You do not have to read the book to participate, but you will get much more out of the experience if you do. Your local library may have copies of the books (mine did), or they are available from many sites online, such as Amazon.

The Book Club will be broken down into weekly sections, and there will be a detailed post each week with thoughts and summaries about the relevant book sections and their possible applications to your photography. The following is an overview of the ideas and topics covered:

  • Week 1, Feb. 1-2: Black and White Photography as Fine Art – fine art or abstract photography
  • Week 2, Feb. 3-9: Black and White Photography as Normality – still life, landscape, street, portrait, architecture, or journalism / documentary photography
  • Feb. 13th: Flash of Color February – an image processed with selective color to bring out a specific color
  • Week 4, Feb. 17-23: Creative Choices in Exposure – exploring over- and underexposure, high key, low key, high contrast, and low contrast
  • Week 5, Feb. 24-28: Putting it All Together – a final week to go back to your favorite or most challenging ideas or styles of black and white photography. You can also explore topics not covered in the weeks above, such as Grain or High ISO photographs, HDR, Tone Mapping, and Adding Tints.

Section Two of the books, Digital Monochrome, will not be included during a specific week. This section deals intensively with the processing side of black and white photography and how to achieve specific looks using post-processing software. I highly recommend reading or skimming through this section at the beginning and then using the relevant techniques or strategies as they apply to the final photographic look that you are trying to achieve for a specific image. (There are a wide range of free post-processing apps or programs that you can use, if you do not already have post-processing software. Some of these include Picasa, Gimp, Picmonkey, Snapseed for Apple and Andoid, and many more. You can also shoot black and white by setting your camera to its 'monochrome' setting and not doing any processing to your images.)

All are welcome, even if you do not want to commit to the full month and just join for a week or a few days.

Feel free to leave a comment if you're interested in participating. You can also sign up to receive email updates, read it in your RSS reader, or be notified via Google+ (see links on the right hand side). Or you can 'like' the Facebook page  for updates via Facebook. You can also join the Photography Book Club group on Flickr to see and share photographs during the month.

Hope you'll join us!

Boost Your Photography: Learn Your DSLR is now available from Amazon. Get the most out of your camera with practical advice about the technical and creative aspects of DSLR photography that will have you taking beautiful pictures right away.
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