Composition General Photography

Little-Known Techniques In Black And White Photography

Black and white photographs never fail to exude beauty and nostalgia. This is one of the reasons why despite the invention of color photography, there are still photographers who want to know the art of black and white photography. There are even photographers who specialize in this kind of photography.

photo2There was a time when pictures were available in only black and white.  This of course was the time when the only medium available for taking photographs was black-and-white films.  Old photographs of our grandparents and great-grandparents are mostly in black and white.

Black and white photographs rarely fail to exude beauty and nostalgia.  This is one of the reasons why despite the invention of color photography, there are still photographers who want to know the art of black and white photography.  There are even photographers who specialize in this kind of photography.

If color could reduce the impact of a photograph, opting to have it in black and white is a popular choice.  Since the human eye is trained to notice first the color of any thing, eliminating the color from a photograph can help a viewer notice more important things like light, textures, actions, and emotions in a photograph.  Some newspapers and photographers still use or create black and white photographs because the stark lack of color can help convey the emotional impact of a photograph better than color photographs.

With digital photography and digital technology, one can easily convert any color photograph into black and white photographs.  Still, there are those who set out to take black-and-white photographs from scratch.  If you are into black and white photography, here are some techniques you may find helpful.

Learn To See The World In Black And White

Experienced black and white photographers look at the world sans the color.  In other words, these photographers ignore the distraction of colors and, instead, pay attention the tones and contrasts of any potential image.  Train yourself to be like them and see the world beyond its colors.  If you pay attention to lighting contrasts and the like, you will begin to notice shades and textures more readily.

Increase Your Contrast With The Use Of Filters

photoPhotographer Ansel Addams was famous for his photographs of landscapes and large puffy clouds in black and white.  If you want to get the look of Addams’ photography, you should know that he used filters to increase the contrasts in his photographs.

You can use filters even in color photographs.  If you use them in black and white photography, remember that red, green, orange, yellow, or blue filters allow you to have greater control over your subject’s tonal range.  You can use yellow, orange, or red filter to make blue, green, and other colors to appear a deeper shade.  These filters can also be used to lighten red and other warm colors.

Use blue and green filters if you want to lighten cool colors and if you want to darken warm colors.  If you want to darken the tonal value of a clear blue sky, which will only look white on a black and white photograph, use a yellow filter.

How To Shoot Black And White Digitally

Digital cameras are what most photographers use nowadays because of the ease, affordability, and convenience of using them.  When taking black and white photographs with a digital camera, select a lower ISO or the number that correlates to film speed in 35 mm cameras.  When shooting in low-light conditions, a higher ISO usually allows greater flexibility.

However, photographs taken at a high ISO usually have more clouding issues due to noise.  Noise can be a distracting element in black and white photography and can call the attention away from your subject.  If you want to have the best and clearest possible black and white image with your digital camera, stick with the raw setting. On the other hand, you can use a high quality color setting and you can just convert the photo to black and white later.

…it’s really simply black and white, (hmmm.. 🙂

Ray Baker