Discussion in 'Black and White' started by williammccauley, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. How can I use lighting( i.e shining a flashlight on a subject or similar) to change the tone of a black and white image?
  2. Not sure if I'm on the same page here, but usually the tone of an image it's determined by the lighting, atmosphere and/or subjects and is linked to mood and emotions. What specifically do you have in mind ?
  3. looking for an array, to make very similar images with completely different feelings using lighting as a primary change
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Is this a question set in an assignment at school or college?

    Are you using Black and White Film?

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  5. The typical method, with an immobile subject, is to put your camera on some sort of stand in a darkened room. Then you open the camera shutter for some period of time, say a couple of seconds or longer. During that time you can move the light around, or point it at different parts of the subject.

    One of the tricky parts is to known how much exposure you need, that is, how long to shine the light on something. With a digital camera you can do it experimentally. With a film camera it's probably better to start out with an exposure meter reading. Then, as you "paint" with the light you try to let the light beam "dwell" on the important parts of the subjects for as long as the exposure meter suggests. It's a little bit like spray painting, which is, I guess, why they sometimes call it "painting with light."

    Another variation on this is to set something up in dim light, such that an exposure time of several seconds is just barely enough with the ambient light. Then you can "dress up" the image a little by letting your handheld light "play" on certain parts.
  6. What do you mean?
    Do you have a cold B&W picture that you'd like to look warm in a color photograph taken of it? - Try tungsten lighting (and set digital cameras' WB to flash).
    If you want to use a monochrome picture the light doesn't matter. paper developer and toner choice do in a wet darkroom. If you want to print a file: Change your ink, maybe dabble with Pantone warm & cool gray base or just mix something.
  7. Bill C, Great answer (I think ?)!
  8. You might be able to do this in Photoshop with the use of filters and other digital tools...
  9. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    For clarification by "flashlight" do you mean a small battery-operated portable electric light as the British call a "torch" or a photography electronic flash also called a strobe? Some people do use hand held lights to perform "painting with light".
  10. Posting the question is part of an assignment for school. And I am using digital
  11. small battery operated portable light
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2020
  12. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you for the answers to James' and my questions.
    Supplying a detailed question reaps better, targeted, more useful results.


    I think that your Teacher may be seeking for you to recognize how the Lighting Direction on the Subject can affect Tonal Gradations in Black and White Images.

    As you are using Digital, it will be easy for you to conduct the experiment, compile your own results and your own theories.

    Using an inanimate Subject (for example a toy or doll) use the Flashlight to light the Subject 'full front' (i.e. parallel to the Lens's Axis) and then at various angles in the Horizontal and Vertical to the Lens's Axis, (e.g. 30, 60 and 90 degrees off axis).

    Make an image of each using your Digital Camera set to Monochrome Black and White JPEG capture.

    Compile, Compare and Contrast the results noting the differences in Grey Tone Gradations of the Images.

  13. That is a very detailed answer, thank you for being so thorough
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Be as thorough in your assignment.
    Good Luck.


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