The Beauty of Monochrome by Sandy Fales

Updated: January 18, 2016 Mpix Support Guest Post, Tips

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Sandy Fales is the face behind the camera at Wild Prairie Photography.

Black and white. Monochrome. I can think of no better way to edit a photo. To me, it brings something added to the frame. Something that color just cannot project. By taking away what is known we open our minds to this whole other area of “fill in the blank”.

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My love for monochrome conversions started just shortly after I bought my first DSLR. I was playing around in some editing software and realized how much potential black and white had. More notably, I noticed how it made me feel. With color, you get the beautiful tones and reality of what was happening. The concrete of where you were and what was going on; the blue of a beautiful dress, the colors of the trees, the golden hair of a little girl. Color can certainly bring something to the table.

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But… take that same photo, convert it to monochrome, and watch as your eyes and brain dance a dance of wonder and curiosity. You notice all the small details. All the wonderful shadows, lines and creases. You can bring out the gorgeous freckles on your daughters cheeks and nose in a way color just can’t replicate. Emotion just flows through, uninhibited. It’s almost as if you can feel it radiate to your soul. It can take a photo that is already amazing and turn it into a timeless one, nostalgic if you will.

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Converting to monochrome is fairly simple. I use Lightroom for most of my editing. You can change the “treatment” tab to black and white and you are off to a great start. I really enjoy moody edits so I generally drop my exposure down a bit. I move the Blacks slider to the left until I like the way it looks, move the Highlights slider to the left until I get the amount of detail I want, pull up my Shadows a tad by moving that slider to the right and give it a boost of Clarity at the end. You can tweak a monochrome photo in a lot of different ways to get your desired effect. Just play with the sliders (on whatever program you have) and eventually you will find a look that moves you!

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To see more of Sandy’s work, follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

9 Responses to “The Beauty of Monochrome by Sandy Fales”

  1. January 19, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Good article Sandy. All the pics here are good examples, especially the hands at the end.

  2. Brad Bennett January 19, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    I was a wedding/portrait photographer for about fifteen or sixteen years. Got leukemia; had to quit.
    I’m now 72 and want to start back.
    I like your photography. I see you get along with people well. Essential. You have a sharp eye & mostly you omit needless details. You use light pretty well. . . apparently, using mostly natural light.
    Not everybody is gifted with photographic ability. I belong to three camera clubs & see a lot of attempts to do excellent work. Really good work is “scarce as hens teeth.” You do a good bit of work that falls in the excellent category.
    Thanks for sharing your outstanding work and your techniques.

  3. Brad Bennett January 19, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    Well now, I just submitted a careful message. I don’t have a website yet.

  4. Brad Bennett January 19, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    Yes, those hands are a great teaching example.

  5. January 19, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    Good article. but the use of the word monochrome to refer to black and white confused me a bit. In the art world monochrome literally means one color, so I think of a monochrome photo as, say, different shades of blue. Monochrome and black and white photography are beautiful.

  6. January 19, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    I agree with the Response about “The Beauty of Monochrome by Sandy Fales”, especially the hands. It couId not have been shot any other was. I have not shot very many photos in monochrome, but seeing your photo comparisons between Monochrome and color. I’m going to try a lot more monochrome photos in the future. Thank you for sharing.

  7. January 19, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    Another thing that is great while working on B&W is that in Lightroom you still can play around with the color sliders, allowing you to selectively darken or brighten a certain color (like the green of the vegetation, or red of roofs, or the blue of the roofs, for example).

    • Brad Bennett January 19, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

      Agree & appreciate focusing on this idea. Thanks!

  8. January 19, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    Wonderful article. I have always loved black & white for my photos. The shadows, the angles, – to me, everything looks better in black & white. I “see” more in B&W.

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