Posted on

Live Show Recap: Black and White

Hey guys! We looked at your black and white photos this week and you came out in force. Lots of great shots.

We just got the LoupeDeck for Lightroom, but we haven’t tried it yet, I’m sure we’ll get a review out soon. Canon released some new cameras, but we don’t have them yet. They don’t like us.

Get our t-shirt!

Support us at Patreon to vote for the live show topic each week, plus get videos early.

“I like to just be silent so it seems like a really long time.”

Okay, we start reviewing photos here:

-a pick right off the bat for this cute baby

Krystal, always killin’ it

texture (nice one, James!)

-tiny boat, big sky


tracks (good one, Rod!)


-dramatic peanut, or the ship from Arrival?

-god rays

-time to wait


Time for my “comments or feelings“:

-FOLLOW THE RULES ughhh why do you all hate me

-I was drinking a Yard Brawler which explains my mood

-tips to grade black and white (including video)? Crush the blacks, blown out whites, high contrast: Adjust by color so that you can make different parts pop.

-is the split between mirrorless and “proper” cameras generational? Not really, it’s either sticking with what you know or trying something new. Generationally, younger people are using smartphones for photography. Watch “Death of the Consumer Camera.”

Back to photos:

-fog plan

-“cute-iful to the max”


Time for chit-chat! The part of the show where we highlight your weird/confusing/mean/dumb comments on our videos:

-WtF Shr has an strange voice

-“we need to see those pale legs more often”

-“you know what I’m pissed about? Everything!”

-Chelsea & Dog Live “Qbert, you m-fer”

-for sure a bit strange


Back over to me for some questions:

-Affinity Photo for iPad? Yes, we have a review coming out soon.

-advice on digitizing old prints? Just scan them at a high resolution and then go in and do some retouching.

Back to your photos:


-bride on a bike

-“oh, Midsummer. The Swedes, they like to drink.”

-a pick for pandering

-long shadow

-bespectacled man

-happy belated birthday, Justin! Not you, Chelsea.

-ghost reflection “I’m too scared of metaphors”

-“it’s like some people are wearing glasses, and some people are bespectacled”

-another horn player


-this one didn’t get a pick, but deserved it



-Selma boys

-girl being held

-dramatic smoker

 Back to me for some questions/comments:


-please don’t send us pics of your junk, I’ll send them to your family

We really didn’t do any questions when they went over to me, we just kept going through pictures:

-lady in a barrel

-terrifying doll


-two men on a bus

-a beer brand should sponsor us (please!)

-intense face




Over to me for some $:

-I dunno, some stuff about a camera

-Sigma 18-35 for low light with a Sony a6XXX series? Maybe with the a6500 but you’ll need to manually focus. Probably better with Canon or Nikon though.

Back to photos:

-lovely portrait

-lonely white dog

Last questions from you, the audience:

-how did Tony decide to go from IT to photography and was it a financial risk? For sure, yes. He was doing both concurrently, but he saw the death of his IT career coming since no one was reading manuals for later Microsoft versions. You have to keep up with trends and change your focus to fit them. Google images then killed the stock photo business, so they shifted to writing photography books and making videos.

-how to reproduce the black and white auto effect in Lightroom? Just do it manually, adjust your contrast, follow our top tip.

A few last photos:

-pick for this dog that looks like my dog

-obscured face

And that’s our show! Next week’s subject is travel photography. See you then.

Posted on

Beginner Photography: Black and White

Hey Stunners! This weeks’ live show topic is black and white. I just so happened to shoot a few weeks ago when I was at my parent’s house in Connecticut over father’s day weekend. My parents live in the neighborhood my dad grew up in and where much of his family lived. His grandparents used to live on the Niantic river on an acre of land with grape arbors. My mom suggested going down to their old house to ask the current owner if we could photograph the area so that I could give my dad framed photos of it for father’s day. The man who lived there has owned it for 25 years and was happy to show us around and let me take pictures of the property.

These shots wouldn’t really stand alone as great work, many of the shots could use a focal point, but for the project they do what was intended. I chose to make most of them black and white so that they would look timeless and reflect the area as my father remembered it.

There are a number of reasons you’d choose to shoot black and white:

-to bring the focus to shape and texture

-to create a mood

-to eliminate distractions

-if the colors in the photo add nothing to it

This video is applicable to almost all types of photography, but especially b&w:

Here are my shots:

f/7.1, 1/100th, ISO 200



f/7.1, 1/320th, ISO 200


f/7.1, 1/80th, ISO 200



f/7.1, 1/500th, ISO 200



f/6.3, 1/60th, ISO 400


So you can see I didn’t have the best light, it would have been nice to go during the golden hour but time was limited. It also would have been better to go later in the season when the grapes were on the vines, but I’m sure I can try again. I liked the wide panoramas of the river the best. I used Photoshop to remove a few distractions like a lawn chair and some wood planks that took away from the timelessness of the scene. 

This project was as much about the action of shooting as the resulting images. It was really powerful to walk on the land that my great grandparents owned and learn more of the history of it (The house used to be a speakeasy! There were underground tunnels for runaway slaves!) I hope I was able to capture any of that for my father.

Posted on

Beginner Photography: Lines

Hey folks! This week’s topic was a fun one: lines. I like these abstract topics, partially because I’m lazy and partially because I just like abstract photography. Not that these images had to be abstract, but that’s what I tend to when shooting something simple.

The problem I came across with almost all of these shots was a lack of focal point. So some of these wound up being more like location scouting for when I have a model (most likely my daughter) to put in the scene at a later date. I actually love simple, stark shots of man-made structures especially. I think it’s something about finding a rare blank space in the city.

As usual, I shot in aperture priority at my lowest aperture. Some of these shots were of repeating patterns, so it makes the most sense to choose a small focal point and let the rest of the image blur. It helps to eliminate background distractions and your brain fills in the rest of the pattern for itself.

I walked around my neighborhood looking for lines and patterns. I first went to the train tracks, but where I live they are just in a straight line, which doesn’t give a very interesting leading line. Those shots wound up being unsuccessful. The sun was high in the sky, though, which made for lots of nice shadows. I sought out a few staircases that I thought would serve as a good subject. There were also a number of stone railings I liked. I converted all the shots to black and white since the pattern and texture were the focus.

This was actually an old shot from my phone that I loved but found no use for.

There is a person sitting at the end, but I wish they were larger in the frame.


This is a spot I’ve shot before, in my post on architecture. I think this crop works a bit better.

f/3.5, 1/800th for some reason, ISO 200.


This spot you’ll recognize from my “spooky” shots here. It could certainly use a focal point, but I love the zig-zag shadows on the stairs.

f/4, 1/640th, ISO 200.


Another old shot from when I was in San Francisco. Pup prints.

f/9, 1/200th, ISO 200.


So, there’s lines! I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s interpretations for the live show this week. What do you think of my shots? At all compelling, or just boring? 

Posted on

Live Show Recap: Black and White

Hey there! Last night’s show was unofficially sponsored by Jameson and it was a blast. We looked at your black and white (and monochrome) shots and got some amazing ones. Thanks for watching and (attempting) to submit. If you want to know why you’d convert to black and white, read my blog post on it here.

We get into the photo reviews quickly, starting here:

  • street motion
  • “cash me off guard” No, Tony.
  • boots on the ground
  • portrait
  • “I don’t know what he’s about to do, but it’s gonna be dangerous, right?”

Happy birthday Kyle Wolfe! And wow, Rod, thanks for the booze! We need to do things that upset people and make them send us alcohol more often.

A bit of photo news:

  • you can post multiple photos on Instagram in one post
  • Sigma announced 4 new art lenses which we’re excited about

Over to me for some questions:

  • how do you feel about color photography for street photos? Totally fine.
  • any technical advantage to shooting in b&w verses converting in post? Not technically, but there’s an advantage to doing it to teach yourself to see in black and white.

Back to your photos:

  • sport portrait
  • Chelsea coined “the devil’s candy”
  • “I don’t like people being happy in tunnels
  • guy on a cliff
  • “you don’t feel like there was just too much white in there?” “I feel that about a lot of things, but not this picture.”
  • much talk about the coliseum and aqua battles
  • stair case
  • “damn, sexual selection at work”
  • snow
  • selfie
  • pigeons
  • Tony trolls the nerds
  • scared baby “she had a scary dream about a wiener dog” “it’s a common nightmare”
  • bridge

Time for chit-chat! Our favorite part of the show where you are mean, or correct us a bunch, or say something dumb and we reply for some reason.

  • that’s great, Howard. Also, “nit-pickery.”
  • very disappointed in baby Jesus
  • married or brother and sister? Why not both?
  • “but unfortunately he chose a country that hasn’t existed for several decades.” “That sounds like a terrible, creepy way to separate yourself from your brain.”

Time to review portfolios! Justin picks one for us. “Dr. Fear Co.” Good, good golden-doodle. Good layout, just flesh it out a bit. Put a name and photo of yourself on the contact page.

Then Greg Noel’s portfolio. Lovely shots, nice layout, very well done! Take out the repeats, get rid of the watermarks. Canadian mummers.

Okay, at minute 48 the audio and video go wildly out of sync for some reason! So I’m going to end this recap here, but to make up for it, we’ll be doing a bonus live show on Monday! So keep an eye out for that. Thanks folks!

Posted on

Beginner Photography: Black and White

Hey there! This week’s live show topic (and thus my blog topic) is “black and white” photography. I would say that I convert my shots to black and white about half of the time, which I think is more than most people. This week I went out briefly to shoot with black and white in mind, which isn’t usually the case. Generally I end up converting to B&W for a number of different reasons, which I’ll detail below.

First I’ll direct you to watch this video which is relevant to all photography, but is particularly important for black and white photography:

So here are the reasons you might choose to convert your images to black and white:

  • the focus of your subject is a shape or form created by the elements of the picture
  • the colors or background of your photo are distracting from the subject
  • you want a timeless or classic feel to your shot
  • the colors in the image are naturally desaturated and the color adds nothing to it

So I’ve converted to black and white for all of these reasons. I went out and took a few shots while I was at my parents house in Connecticut this weekend and specifically kept an eye out for interesting shadows since there was still lots of snow on the ground and the sun was high.

This first shot is an example of the form being the focus, the tree and the shadow of the tree:

f/3.5, 1/1250th of a second for some reason, ISO 200


This shot is also about the form of the shadow, and additionally there was very little color in the image to start as I was shooting a black dog on a grey road:

f/3.5, 1/640th, ISO 200


This shot I decided to edit for the mood I wanted. While the sun was high and it was a nice day, I was more interested in the bare trees, the stark snow, and the old wrought iron chairs and table. I decided to convert to black and white, add some grain, and some vignetting to focus attention on the subject and make it look like a dated shot:

f/3.5, 1/1250th, ISO 200


While these are certainly not my most successful black and white images (see my posts on shadows and spooky for my favorites) I think they are decent examples of why you’d choose to convert select shots to black and white.

I look forward to seeing everyone’s shots this week, and don’t forget to check your dang histograms!