Tone: a primer

A happy new year to all my readers!

Well, 2017 is here and I'm happy to announce a little series of blog posts I shall be making over the coming weeks on tone in black and white photography.

I shall be writing these posts with a view to offering a primer on tone, something for the beginner, for sure, but hopefully of interest to the more experienced photographer too. As well as making some essential definitions, I shall be considering ways in which tone is of crucial importance in black and white photography, looking at ways it can be manipulated, and examining typical contrast 'recipes'. I will end with a series of exercises, a little tonal work out if you like, aimed at giving anyone who follows them a deeper appreciation of tonal values.

A rough schedule is as follows:

Post 1 (today): Introducing tone

Post 2: A sliding scale of grey

Post 3: Contrast & dodging and burning

Post 4: Recipes of tone

Post 5: Games to play (the exercises)

Please, as ever, your feedback and comments on the posts are welcome. As hinted at above, you'll find the first post immediately following this one.

Be a better photographer - a postscript

So, today I have posted the tenth, and final, instalment of my little weekly mini series of photography tips. Writing them has been enjoyable, and I have learnt about myself as a photographer and potential blogger.

My website is not very old, and while I can monitor visitor numbers to some degree, and have linked to social media, it is not easy to tell how my writing has been received (or how many readers it has had). I suspect the lot of the blogger is fundamentally a lonely one, especially in the early stages of a blog’s life. Perhaps the game is changing too: maybe the blogs with large audiences were formed when such things were possible, but now a proliferation of blogs means a smaller and more specialised audience for each new one.

A writer is naught without an audience, and so for this reason I invite feedback on the ‘better photographer’ series, or any other posts for that matter. The contact link in the menu above is an easy way to get in touch, or there are sections for comments under specific posts. The latter are moderated and so there may be a short delay before they appear.

Some useful questions are: Which bits did you like? How did you find the format, the length, flavour? Are there things I didn’t cover that you would like to see? Were the tips helpful? Do you want more? Would you like to see some beginners introductions to photo topics? If so, which ones? 

The content of such a website is always going to be the responsibility of the owner, and of course I reserve the right to make it indelibly mine (it wouldn’t be Richard Pickup Photography else, and I have only begun to scratch the surface of what I have to offer). I plan to address darkroom more than I have to date, and certainly more on digital inkjet printing. Modest reviews of equipment and papers will continue. 

At the same time it is abundantly clear from my experience with social media that collaborative and community based dialogue is on the rise (this may link to my suspicion of more numerous, but more specialised photography sites). I welcome this social aspect, and thus if you wish to stick around and get involved, you have an opportunity to shape what I do. I hope, then, that an audience and indeed a community, with you a part of it, will emerge. If you think my content is for you, please do follow and voice your opinion.