There is always an artistic vibe surrounding black and white photos. Perhaps it’s the clear depiction of contrast, shapes and texture in your photos as compared to colored ones. Maybe it’s the lack destructing colors in the photo hence revealing the image in its true form. Whatever it is, it’s worth taking time to master your black and white photography. And with modern cameras allowing you to shoot directly in black and white rather than editing your shots, grasping this concept just got much easier!
Black And White Photography – Tip #1
Shoot In RAW
I know that most people don’t usually shoot in black and white because they simply don’t know how to or maybe their cameras don’t offer that option. There is a way to ensure great results when going BnW, this is by shooting in RAW. If your camera allows it, shoot in RAW, it gives you great control in the post-production phase of converting your color images into black and white ones.Of course, shooting in JPEG doesn’t really stop you from shooting in black and white format but expect a hard time editing your shots.If it’s an option for you, just give RAW a go, you will be amazed by what it actually offers both pre and post production.
Black And White Photography – Tip #2
Shot In COLOR
Most digital cameras nowadays have an option for you to shoot in black and white. This is definitely a great feature for any photographer who is enthusiastic about artistic photography. Such cameras tend to be very expensive. If the camera you are using doesn’t allow you to shoot in either black and white or in RAW, you can just do your shooting in color then you can edit the photos to black and white in your computer.
Black And White Photography – Tip #3
When To Shoot
One advantage black and white photos have over colored is that you can shoot on an overcast or dark day. Such days provide the much needed low contrast conditions. This is quite opposite with color photography where such conditions lead to poor lighting! So whenever you find yourself with a dark gloomy day, take advantage by taking some black and white shots.
Black And White Photography – Tips #4
Go For Long Exposure
Monochrome photography works really well with long exposure shots, especially where clouds or moving water are involved. Recording the water in a wide exposure ensures that you enhance the tonal contrast. This cannot be achieved with a short exposure. The blurring caused by the water movement also increases textural contrast with the solid objects such as rocks in the frame. If possible, you can make use of a neutral density such as Little Stopper filter or Lee Filters’ Big Stopper to extend the speed of the shutter and to reduce exposure (by 4 and 10 stops respectively).
Normally in instances where exposures extend past 1/60 sec, a tripod is essential.This ensures that the camera is kept still and avoids blurring. It’s also suitable to use a mirror lock-up and a remote release to minimize vibration and produce great images which are super-sharp
Black And White Photography – Tip #5
Filters are arguably very important in black and white photography. They manipulate image contrast. A polarizing filter, in particular, can boost contrast and reduce reflections.
An ND grad with a standard neutral density filter is useful if you want to retain detail in a bright sky!
Black And White Photography – Tip #6
Shoot At Your Lowest ISO Setting
I strongly recommend that you use the lowest possible ISO setting on your camera when taking your black and white shots just like in the post-production black and white conversion itself. Back in the day, photographers often used high ISO films to get the grainy look. Digital shooting in high ISO gives you enough noise, but analog noise is better than digital noise.
It’s good to be careful enough to avoid any unwanted movement in your shots when going for the lowest ISO setting. With modern digital cameras, you can go up quite a lot before the noise kicks in. In monochrome photography, instead of a noiseless shot where your intended subject is a blur, it’s way better to take a nice shot with some little noise.
Black And White Photography – Tip #7
Toning, Cropping And Square Format
You can easily use these options to enhance your image and make it outstanding. These options can be used once your camera has been switched to monochrome mode. Cropping and square formatting enable you to change the image aspect ratio.
Finally, you should tone your images subtly. If your camera doesn’t allow this don’t do it as the effect is usually felt too strong.