Tip #1–Creating a Great Subject
One great black and white photography tip that most professionals take to heart is that you can make the smallest thing be a great subject. This is because the absence of color, brings our attention to things like details such texture, form, and communication. These are elements that are akin to design. So when using black and white photography, think about what kind of design will be filling the frame. Think about shapes, and how the lights and darks will fit together to communicate your message. One of the reasons the black and white image remains strong is that has the ability to capture the essence of a scene by way of light, design and composition.
Black and White Photography Tip #2–Designing Your Black and White Image
Another important tip is to learn how to design with lights and darks. Black and white images are shades of gray, from almost white to black and many tones in-between. The use of black and white as a tool for design is not a new concept! With color the focus is taken away from the form, the shape, the design! It is believed that black and white photography will always remain part of the design world. Designing in monochrome photography, gives the artist varied means of representation. There are few limitations when using a camera to represent design. Black and white image making includes, (chiaroscuro), designing with dark and light tones, (contrast), sensitivity to tonal range, texture and patterns, and tonal area (key), and of course, compositional elements which will heighten the impact of the statement the artist is making.
Black and White Photography Tip #3–Balancing tones
The basis of this black and white photography tip is to remember that Black and white can also really bring out the contours, shapes and textures of the scenes you shoot – especially if you pay attention and are able to capture the many different tones represented in the scene. It is possible that monochrome photographs will have an infinite variety of tones, or it may have merely a few, in a broad range or in a narrow one. But, keep in mind that within the boundaries of the picture frame there has to be some interactions of darker and lighter tones. Be sure that the interaction of lighter and darker tones provides some balance or imbalance, tenseness or tranquility, drama or mystery, logic or calculated insanity. The black and white photographic artist must be able to understand how the scales of the darker and lighter tones interact in order to point the viewer toward a better understanding of the photographer’s statement. This black and white photography tip is to look carefully at the scene and shoot with the intention of capturing contours, shapes and textures of the scenes.
Black and White Photography Tip #4–ISO
Watch out for noise at high-ISO settings. Of course this applies to all photography, but is a particular thing to bear in mind when you’re shooting black and white photography. When shooting with negative film the word ‘grain’ is used to describe the somewhat tiny flecks of white grain like particles that are present in the image. This can happen when using “faster” film, For example, ISO 800 vs ISO 400 film. ISO 800 is considered a fast film, while ISO 400 is considered a normal speed film, or sort of in-between fast and slow. A Slow film would be in the range of ISO 200 or less. Using a fast film, means that the shutter release will be open for a short period of time, letting in less light than if you were to use a slower film such as ISO 400 which would allow the shutter to be open longer. The longer the shutter is open the more light hits the film. When using faster film speeds, you can expect more grain. In digital photography, this concept is called noise. Since you are not using film , this can happen when using higher ISO settings on your digital camera. The ISO settings allow for more or less light to hit the digital sensor. When trying to capture darker scenes, adjusting the ISO settings high in order to give the scene more light can cause noise. You can tell you have noise, when there are pixel present in the image whose color and brightness is unrelated to the subject. Some photographers like grain in there images and strive for it, so it is not always a bad thing if it is your intention and relates to the scene in some way.
Black and White Photography tip #5–Pay Attention to Light
When you’re shooting in black and white, you’ll need to pay even more attention to light than you would whens hooting in color. This is because even more so than in a color image, the bright parts of a monochrome image will draw the viewer’s attention – so make sure that the brightest parts of your scene are of an interesting shape, composition and texture to keep your viewers attention. Next time you shoot in monochrome, whether it be digital or film, try to incorporate a black and white photography tip found here your thinking – they’ll help you ensure that the image you make is as close as possible to the one in your mind’s eye. And remember how much of a role design plays in the role of a black and white image.
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