August 20, 2013

Casual Portraits with Ricoh GR BW setting

I continue to be very pleased with the B&W's I'm getting out of the Ricoh GR. My normal shooting mode these days is to use RAW + and select the GR's BW effect or mode. This way I benefit from having both the B&W jpeg file as rendered by the GR as well as a DNG file so I can still process the image in full color.

Here are a few casual family portraits from this past weekend in Connecticut. Other than adding the black frame around each photo using Nik Color Efex, these jpegs are straight from the camera with no image manipulation.

The GR produces B&W's with wonderful tones and just the right amount of contrast for my liking. I'm also finding that for these type of people photos that using exposure compensation of +.3 gives me slightly better exposed skin tones with no lose of detail. This reminds me of my days using the zone system for all my B&W film work.

As some of you probably know, most camera exposure systems are calibrated to a middle grey or approximately an 18% reflectance thus rendering your subject as a Zone V, when in fact, skin tones should typically be a Zone VII. I'm getting very consistent and pleasing skin tones using the GR B&W filter using exp comp +.3 and am also finding there's still plenty of detail in the light and dark shadows.

Hope you enjoy these casual B&W's. And if you haven't spent time experimenting with the GR B&W jpegs you really ought to, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

(Note: Click on any image to view a larger file.)