Jonas Rask - Round 1. Monochrome

Competition hashtag: 



In preparation for the first of the 12x53 photo of the month Competitions, your judge, jonas rask has kindly submitted some much valued advice about taking successful monochrome photographs.

Try and take on board as much of the expert counsel as you can, because as far as this is guidance it might well be what Jonas will be looking for in his winning shot too.

Hi everyone. I'm incredibly thrilled and honoured to be chosen as the judge in the first 12x53 contest. I'm a huge fan of black and white photography, and the things you can do within that specific sub-category of photography. 
I have written some quick thoughts about B&W. Maybe some of you can find it useful going into the contest. 
I am really looking forward to seeing all of your images!
Whenever I see a monochrome image that attract my attention, I start to wonder why that is. Why do I linger over this particular image?  - More often than not, the images that makes me stop and take notice are images that are different to my own.
Often it is easy to like images that fit into the same type of images that you yourself produce. Because of familiarity and ‘recognizability’. But once you rid yourself from that, the unfamiliar can suddenly seem much more giving and exiting to your mind.
Monochrome is all about the luminance. It's about using what is not there. Leaving the mind to fill in the color data. Use to your advantage that you have your viewer’s full attention in regards to shapes and compositional lines. 
Try to set your camera to a monochrome film simulation. Force yourself to look through the viewfinder and see the world in B&W. Don't just convert a color image to B&W if the color file doesn't look right, rather think of your images as black and white images from the beginning. You will start noticing a lot of different things within your frame. 
Here are some quick 'n dirty tips for monochrome shots:
- Don't be afraid of contrast. Whites should be white. Not grey.
- Look for strong compositions that can hold its own without color data.
- Use shadows and highlights as lines in the images.
- Don't be afraid of grain. High ISO on the Fuji’s look incredibly organic in black and white images. 

Jonas Rask