Black and white photography: an interview with Patricia Soon

30 jun, 2020


Patricia Soon is a fine art photographer based in Sabah, Malaysia. She likes to travel and tends to capture peculiar moments wherever she goes. Photography has changed and enriched Patricia’s life. In her interview, she talks about her equipment, methods of photo processing and explains why most of her photos are black and white.


What techniques and methods of photo processing do you use?

My preferred method for black and white conversions is to use Photoshop CC with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. It has a lot of useful presets that can be used as the basis for further changes in the images. These are the important parts of my post-processing workflow, selections, layers and luminosity masks in photoshop. It lets me get precise and complete control of the light and tones in different elements of the photo. With the use of editing tools, such as masking technique, gradient tool, dodge and burn you can make more individual adjustments. The final stage is usually an output sharpening.

What technical equipment do you use in your work?

I am currently using the Sony A7r III. For lenses, I would generally use 24-105mm f/4 and 16-35mm f/4 for architecture and landscape; A set of ND filter (3, 6, 10 stops) and Circular Polarizing filter under the sun with sturdy tripod, which allows increasing the exposure time from a few seconds to even a few minutes. This can create the mood you need.

Why most of your photos are black and white?

For the past few years, I became strongly related to black and white fine art photography as I consider this art to be a form of profound expression, a creative process that leads to alternative views on ordinary subjects. Using the long exposure technique, unconventional optics and introvert post-processing is a way to blend in the time with your emotions. The flow of clouds and running water when slowed down creates a dramatic mood.  

What other genres of photography are you interested in?

I enjoy a range of subjects including street, abstract, landscape, architecture and seascapes with most images being minimalist long exposures.

What do you think is the most important in photography?

The most important thing in a good photo is the ability of the photograph to communicate with the viewer. It should be able to tell a story, or they speak to your emotions. Creativity is the norm to make your artworks stand out from others and keep learning and sharpening your skills from time to time.