One of the things I like to do to get out of a photographic rut is to shoot some photographs during a portrait session in direct monochrome mode. It doesn’t have to be all of the images in a session; just a few to see what happens. I
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? Most 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.
If you prefer to capture in color and convert to monochrome later in the digital darkroom that’s not a bad idea. And it’s how I made the window light portrait at left. It was shot with a Canon EOS 60D and 28-105mm lens with an available light exposure of 1/200 at f/5.8 and ISO 800.
The biggest advantage of post converting is that all of my favorite retouching tools such as Imagenomic’s’ Portraiture work so much better in color because there are so many more tones to access. which makes retouching smother and more natural.
Tip: On using Portraiture. Enlarge the image on your screen and lower the opacity level of the retouched layer until you see some skin texture show. That keeps from creating the kind of “plastic skin” you see to often on images on the internet.
Joe is the author of Creative Digital Monochrome Effects that’s available from your friendly neighborhood camera store or Amazon.