One of the things that I like to do to get out of a rut is to shoot some photographs in direct monochrome mode. It doesn’t have to be all of the images that you make during a session; maybe just a few to see what happens. If you think that’s a bad idea because you worry about what happens if you change your mind and want that original at some later date to be in color? Many digital SLRs cameras have a RAW+JPEG option that lets you capture a monochrome (JPEG) and color (RAW) file at the same time. Some dual-slot camera, even let you simultaneously save each file type to a different card. My old but dependable Canon EOS 1D Mark II N lets me, for example, shoot RAW on the CompactFlash card and JPEG files onto the SD card.
If you prefer to capture in color and convert to monochrome later in the digital darkroom that’s not a bad idea either. The biggest differences is that all of my favorite retouching tools such as Imagenomic’s’ Portraiture and Anthropics’ Portrait Professional work better with color files, so more often than not I shoot in color and convert to monochrome later using Adobe Photoshop and/or Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro.
N is for normal. Normal as in 50mm lens, anyway. Subject is Tia Stoneman photographed outdoors in the doorway of an old building that has since been remodeled into something nicer but with decidedly less character. I asked Tia to set, resting her back against the wall and also wanted her to pull up her skit a bit to show her great-looking legs. Then the pose was refined having her first place her left hand on her leg and tried different hand placements—always looking for a natural look— before arriving at this shot after eight different variations. Image captured directly in monochrome mode using a Canon EOS 50D with an EX550 speedlight used for fill.
Joe is the author of “Posing for Portrait & Glamour Photography” which is available at your friendly neighborhood bookstore or Amazon.com.