Black and white photography is the purest form of photography according to many photographers. The two neutral colors, which are black and white, make a refreshing change especially in the abundant color photography nowadays. Color is a kind of distraction that takes away the awareness to the visual building blocks of great photos such as the tonal contrast, texture, form, shaping and lighting. As they go into black and white photography, the elements mentioned must be used in order to create adorable and amazing photos. Some people may think that black and white photos are not as good as others. Yet in fact, at the early days of photography, these lensman do not have a choice but to shoot things in black and white as it was the only available in the medium. Then, years passed until 1936, the discovery of the kodachrome gave birth to the way of bringing wonderful colors onto our world. Colored photos started to conquer the photography industry yet the brightness of the black and white photography became brighter.
Colors portray the reality, however, black and white photography is the interpretation of reality. Colors show how beautiful the selected subject when it is alive. However, black and white reveals the real beauty on its own even if it takes the subject to fall in death. Colors speak for different aspects of life and the black and white tell us the two ways of life. See the difference between the two? It takes a thousand of miles between the color photography and the black and white photography to be the same. Color photography is abundant because of the attribute of the colors that make the photos alive. Black and white photography is rare in many photo albums yet going quietly dispersing in thousands of people’s mind. Both pertaining to colors yet still, there is a difference in techniques of how it will produce creative images.
Black and white may not be pleasing for some people’s eye. Most of them condemn these neutral colors because of some superstitions as black represents death, black signifies being unlucky – and a lot more. In photography industry, black and white are used as one of the aspects that can divulge someone or something beauty in dullness and murkiness. It is used to present more of the natural exterior and reveal the real lines and shapes that the subject possesses. Moreover, black and white photography focuses more on the subject – its shape and form, and not the brilliant and delightful colors presented on it.
Below are black and white photography tips that you should follow to improve your knowledge for producing dazzling and stunningly colorful photos.
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B&W photography still needs lighting
Photography is like painting with the use of light. Photography is light and the amount of light determines the quality of the photo. Either your subject is B&W photography or night photography, both subjects have a common denominator whereas most of the portions are in darkness which obviously still needs the presence of light.
Black and white photography still needs the lighting to help the camera easily show the contrasts of the two. The advantage that we can get from B&W photography is having the freedom to shoot photos in any kind of lighting conditions. Yet, we can’t conclude that it can be a spare or replacement for a bad lighting. It has greater chances than the color photography to shoot during the middle of the day and the overcast day, which has the difficult lighting conditions.
Bring to your mind that the sun which is low in the sky will always be the best lighting ever in photography industry. Learning to control the natural light sources in photography is very important. Finding the correct angle of lighting that suits your subject is the secret of B&W photography. Likewise how you find a perfect background that matches with the subject in the other field of photography industry.
Look for contrast
Contrast is one of the useful elements needed to attract interest in the black and white photography. There are two factors needed to influence the contrast presence in a scene; the quality of the light and its direction. The most natural way to have the contrast presence depends on the choice of the subject. Even if the lighting is overcast and dull, a well-chosen subject will offer you the striking tonal condition. Look for the contrast. The subject matter will come into play here.
Therefore, you should consider how the contrast would come into play with you and your subject matter when composing your shot. Well, you can actually control the direction of the light by moving from various positions and shooting there at certain times. For example is the low angled light. It can help you to determine form and makes interesting and fascinating shadows. When beautiful colours are converted to black and white, they become shades of grey. The difference between the light and dark shades is called Tonal contrast. The light colors become the highlights and the dark colors become dark tones. Photographers in black and white photography commonly utilize tonal contrast to make good photos.
Watch out for the presence of noise
If you really have enough knowledge in photography industry, you should know where and when the noise attacks on your photoshoot. For some newbies who didn’t know about it, noise is presented in low-light conditions and warm places. It is also the side effect of long exposure you have done in photoshoot.
Better, watch out for the presence of this noise unless you want to destroy what you already captured. Noises can be easily detected so that is way, photographers will easily notice it. Reduce the expanding amount of noise presence. If the Noise Reduction feature does not exist in your camera, then you could use software that may help you to solve this kind of problems like Photoshop and other image editing tools.
Discovering the world monochrome
Monochrome describes paintings, designs, drawings, or photographs in one color of shades. A monochromatic object or subject has colors in shades of limited colors while hues images using only shades of grey are called black and white or grayscale. In the industry of black and white photography, a key to a successful output image comes from discovering the world in monochrome. It is very significant to know that not all the objects are suitable for the color of black and white.
There are certain types of images that are dependent on color to have an impact. As you already find out your subject in photography, you should evaluate it by trying to imagine how it will look like in black and white. Pre-visualize the result after you have developed and printed the image using your favorite procedure such as the toning and addition of textures. This may be quiet difficult, hence, practice is needed.
Good tip for DSLR users is to shoot in RAW format, which you should do for the best quality color to black and white conversions, yet set the picture style to a black and white mode of the camera. The photo will be displayed in black and white on the LCD screen of your camera and there, you will have all the color information in the RAW file for your conversion afterwards.
Add some patterns and textures
Likewise, in the concept of the contrast in B&W photography, you should haunt for the striking patterns and textures. Black and white shots that rely upon the patterns and textures can often make an abstract photo. Relieving the texture element of a subject can add a new dimension to an image. Actually, texture is affected by the lighting conditions. Low-graded light, typical of the golden hour of light near sunrise and sunset, makes texture stand out sharply.
The touch of soft light by an overcast day can also bring out texture, yet it may require some help in developing process through the use of techniques such as adjusting the contrasting. Beware of the flatness light of the harsh midday because it is the worse light for photographing related to textures.
You should consider the use of telephoto lens to stack up the image elements one on top of the other. To help you pick out one plane in particular and thereby stand a focal point, you should use the useful large aperture. Guarantee the shutter speed is equal to the focal length or maybe a gain access to longer shutter speeds by using tripod is very useful to prevent the camera shake when handholding.
Take a look on the shape and other forms
We know that photographs are not complete without the presence of any shape and other forms. I mean, images will be more interesting if we will roam around and think of something we can add to the scene. Shape and other forms are very significant visual elements we can add up to the scene. Each object has both shape and form.
Shape is define as how the subject looks in two dimensional while the form is define as how the subject looks in three dimensional. Side lighting reveals form by casting shadows. Black and white draws attention to the shadows and flowing lines that illustrates form. You should use the lighting to make your subject look in three-dimensional form.
Don’t be afraid of using filters
For example, a red filter can turn a blue sky almost black. It is worth noting that digital cameras often offer an option of filtering that are already built on them. This means that you can have a play with this effect in-camera before investing in an expensive set of filters. In fact, the colored filters have long been correlated with the black and white photography. They have the noteworthy ability to lighten their own color, while darkening their opposing colors.
The humble polarizer is a filter worthy of matter here too, owed because of its ability to eradicate the glare and saturate the skies. It always depends on the situation if a polarizer can either heighten or lessen contrast. Also one of the useful filters in black and white photography is the Neutral Density (ND) filter wherein it allows extending shutter speed in bright conditions allows more control when shooting moving water and can mean more on post-production creative freedom.
Remember the two key lighting
The techniques used in high key and low-key lighting provide themselves classically to black and white photography. To achieve a high-key image, seek out naturally light subjects since it is more on conventionally bright, and predominantly constituted of highlight tones. Be cautious to guarantee that the meter of your camera does not turn your bright areas into mushy gray.
Alternatively, maybe an overexposure to make your shadows midtones as well as its highlights. High key is actually opposing the quality of the low-key. It has a conventionally dark, encompassing a range of either dark or completely dark areas punctuated with highlights to complete images with prolonged contrast. Usually, a singular directional source of light in a room with little or no available light will produce the best result.
Understand the composition
The subject is really up to you if you already understand the tonality, shadow and lights in black and white photography. As Ansel Adams, one of the America’s great black and white photographers, said, “For it is in the mind’s eye that one creates picture and the sources of pictures therefore are as boundless as one’s own creative imagination.” There are still some basic rules of composition, which can help to assure the most out of your monochromatic snapshots.
First of all the rules, remember the rule of thirds. Divide your frame horizontally and vertically into thirds then try to place the central concentrate of the photo at the intersection of horizontal and vertical lines instead of placing it right in the middle. You should look also for the interesting vantage points. Elements on our surroundings like fences and trees help to drag eye’s viewers into the subject matter. When composing your frame, dodge the large areas of black as well as the areas of white. Viewers may remark these as dead spaces that diminish from the main subject matter. At the end, take many pictures to guarantee that you get the one you want.
Choosing the right gear is very useful
Over last the decades, digital cameras have come to rule the market and the choice of equipment among many professionals. Amateur photographers first thing consider is the type of camera and accessories they will going to use. Unbelievably, there are still enthusiasts photographers who are still choose to shoot with film cameras. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to selecting a camera medium because it is more a matter of personal preference. Some enthusiast photographers like to post-process their own film and recognize the value of the unique character that the developing process gives to the image. Digital files can be edited to achieve perfect brightness and contrast as well as can be enlarged to the sizes, which is much bigger than 35mm film.
It is also important to consider when working with black and white photograph, the lenses, and filters. Since the good monochromatic images rely so heavily on tonality and sharp contrast, you are wanted to get a quality of lens that can make you enhance the best capture of its properties. In addition, the use of filters is very useful also in black and white photography although their main purpose is to block certain colors from passing through the lens.