Black and white photography techniques are essential if you are to register success in this rather challenging but rewarding niche.
Black and white images have a unique sensation that draws even those who may in ordinary circumstances be laid back when it comes to adventures of photography.
To many photographers, black and white photography is a niche that sends them into an entirely new dimension full of rollercoaster kind of adventures.
Digital photography has pioneered the invention of software that converts images into the colors that suits the liking of the clients.
Whether it is a matter of personal preference or artistic imaginations, the following tips will go along way into making you have a mastery of the best black and white photography techniques.
The Choice Of The Subject
The subject is arguably the focal point in any photographic arrangement. If you want to create a pure rendition, you need to pair the image with a collection of simple tones.
This is one of the black and white photography techniques that can convert a simple piece of photography into a classical work of art. You can opt for landscape and documentary as your subjects for mono treatment.
The reason portraits come out strongly in black and white photography is because of the less distraction of color that in turn redirects the attention to the character, its expression and ultimately a revelation of “its soul”.
When dealing with monochromatic landscapes, you need to make the foreground outstanding and if possible a focal point while at the same time incorporating graphic shapes and leading lines.
The Black And White Photography Atmosphere
If you want to add a monochromatic and soft feel of romance to an image, you can opt for fog, haze and mist atmospheres. In black and white photography techniques, the atmosphere has an effect of lowering the subject’s contrast.
A foggy or misty atmosphere creates a perfect transformation of the world into a monochromatic wilderness. Looking at images juxtaposed in such a setting evokes a natural eerie feeling.
When composing your shot, you need to bear in mind the fact that objects that are closer to the lens appear heavier than those that are tucked far behind.
Bring In Overtones Of Contrast
Tonal contrast is a great component that is present in almost all kinds of black and white photography techniques. The level of contrast can either be low or high.
Whichever the case, contrast has a transformational effect on the atmosphere and mood in the entire photographic piece. The choice of subject can greatly enhance the aspect of contrast in a more natural way.
For instance, picture an American black bear against a background of snow. The contrast here is so tangible that you can almost touch it.
Other critical factors that can enhance contrast in a black and white photography are the direction and quality of light.
Light from outdoors can cast strong shadows that present a perfect opportunity for creating a subject with heavy contrast.
Shape And Form In Black And White Photography Techniques
If you want to create a bold image in photography, you need to concentrate on some interesting and exciting shapes.
For an object’s outline to stand out in a captivating way there should be sufficient contrast and tonal variation between the object in focus and its immediate background.
This is a key component in many black and white photography techniques.
One of the effective methods to attain this is to reduce your focal point and zero in on a silhouette.
Integrate a background that is bright enough to accommodate your exposure while at the same time settling for a foreground subject that is conspicuous.
You need to understand the impact that form has on your final photography output. Try to balance the illumination so as to avoid producing a flat looking image.
Turning to an angle of 45-90 degrees relative to light incidence will help you create a sense of volume as well as casting an excellent shadow effect.
Integration Of Patterns And Textures
This is apparently one of the black and white photography techniques that need a lot of tact and artistic prowess. The patterns and textures should be considered jointly with the contrast component.
While out hunting for striking patterns, you need to keep your eyes open for repetitive themes such as those found in architecture and some public structures.
A great idea towards this would be to use a telephoto lens to help you ‘stack up’ the image components one above the other. If you have to pick one particular lane to help you in creating a focal point, a large aperture can be useful.
The speed of the shutter should measure up to the focal length to avoid instances of camera shakes or alternatively you can use a tripod.
In creating the near-perfect texture, you need to incorporate the right lighting. Using scaled down harsh slanting light; you can create the most amazing texture.
The Lighting Schemes
High-key and low-key lighting schemes are integral components of black and white photography techniques. They make every element in the photo appear natural and appealing.
A high-key lighting scheme is bright and made up of highlight tones. To effectively capture this, you have to scout for light subjects that come with bright areas.
Low-key images on the other hand are dark although the darkness may range along a continuum from less dark shades to complete black ones on the far extreme.
They can be punctuated with exciting highlights to bring into effect an extended feel of contrast. To achieve low key lighting and images, you can use a singular and directional source of light in a pitch dark room.
One thing you may have noticed all along is that the tips towards enhancing your black and white photography techniques that we have discussed above are purely creative in nature.
Every photographer learns the technical expertise of photography in school and training institutions but very few have the soft and artistic skills imbued in them.
To make an excellent black and white photographer, you may not have to change your camera but rather master the right black and white photography techniques… Cheers everybody!
(Having trouble keeping your pictures in touch with your audience? Get it covered here at Creative Photography Ideas)