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Classic Black-and-White Portraits

There is something timeless about a black-and-white portrait. It eliminates the distraction of color and puts all the emphasis on the subject. To get great black and whites without having to resort to any image-processing software, set your creative style to Black & White (Figure 6.10).

Figure 6.10

Figure 6.10 Getting high-quality black and white portraits can be as simple as setting the creative style to Black & White.

ISO 100 • 1/200 sec. • f/11 • 24–70mm lens at 70mm

You should know that the creative styles are automatically applied when shooting with the JPEG file format. If you are shooting in RAW, the picture that shows up on your rear LCD display will look black and white, but it will only appear that way in post-processing software if you are using Sony’s Image Data Converter software, which reads that you shot the image in the Black & White creative style. If you are using Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or Capture One to edit and process your images, the RAW image will appear as an unaltered, color image; you will have to convert it to black and white using the software. You can change the creative style of a raw photo in Sony Image Data Converter software, so if you decide that black and white isn’t the route you want to go, just change the RAW file’s creative style in the software.

The real key to using the Black & White creative style is to customize it for your portrait subject. The style can be changed to alter the contrast and sharpness. For children or anyone else who should look somewhat soft, set the Sharpness setting to –1 or 0. For dramatic portraits that you want to look bold and detailed, try a Contrast setting of +2 or +3. For a softer look, use a Contrast setting of –1 or 0 for a nice range of tones throughout the image.

Setting your creative style to Black & White

  1. Press Menu > Camera Menu 4 > Creative Style (A).

  2. Press the Control Wheel up or down to highlight and select the Black & White (B/W) style (B). Lock it in by pressing the center of the Control Wheel.

Your camera will continue to shoot with the Black & White creative style until you change it to another setting.

Customizing the Creative Style settings

  1. When you’re in the section of the Creative Style menu where you have Black & White selected, press the center of the Control Wheel to select sub-settings.
  2. Use the right and left side of the Control Wheel to move between Contrast, Saturation, and Sharpness, highlighting the setting you would like to change.
  3. Now click up or down on the Control Wheel (or rotate it) to select a corresponding value for the highlighted setting.
  4. Perform the same process for the other options, then press the Menu button to return to the regular menu screen. You can now start shooting with your new settings.

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