THIS IS A GUEST POST COURTESY OF MONIKA CIOBAN
Black & White photography is a whole different type of art. It’s not meant to save bad colored photographs. Its purpose is to create a stunning image that was planned to be black and white from the very beginning. So here are some tips and tricks that can help you execute and create some beautiful monochrome photographs.
First and foremost you need to choose your subject. Pick one that has a well-defined shape, form or texture. For example the image below:
COMPOSITION,LIGHT, TEXTURE AND INTERACTION
Your photograph needs to be defined by the overall composition, light, and interaction between the elements. Not by the subject itself. It’s difficult at first to imagine a scene in black and white. With time and practice, you will notice that it becomes easier.
BLACK & WHITE THROUGH YOUR VIEWFINDER
Most DSLRs have an option to show you black & white through the viewfinder. Check if your camera is capable of this and start using that neat feature. Keep in mind that the pictures you take will be in color.
NOT EVERY PHOTOGRAPH WILL LOOK GOOD IN BLACK & WHITE
If you must convert a color image into black & white, ask yourself this: Is the color critical to this photograph? If the answer is “yes” then don’t try to force it. Not every image will look good as a monochrome. Also, not every image can be saved.
BE CAREFUL WHEN SHOOTING SKIES
Shooting in wide open, outdoor space where the image contains more than 50% of skies be aware that you may need some practice to nail it. Negative space can be extremely beautiful as long as it is executed well. Make sure that your subject is well composed. See example below:
ALWAYS SHOOT IN RAW
Don’t forget to always shoot in RAW! Not only when you plan to convert to black and white but ALWAYS! You have heard it a million times and you will hear it a million more. But you must always shoot in raw! You never know what might go wrong during a session and by the time you notice it might be too late to fix and reshoot. The chances of fixing your mistake during post-processing get significantly higher than if you shoot in jpg only.
PRACTICE ON STILL-LIFE
Before you start shooting portraits of people, practice on still life. Notice the light, and change angles until you find the best composition. Sometimes objects look a little flat (two-dimensional) but adding some contrast during the post-processing will help with that.
Some of the greatest Black & White Photographs are done on the street. Think of it as a documentary style. Capturing people’s nature, their lifestyle, buildings, streets…etc.
Now that you know the basics and you probably got inspired by looking at the photographs, it’s time to go and shoot your own Black & White images. Good luck and don’t forget…PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!
This article was featured in Summerana Magazine | July 2019 | The Black and White Issue See the full issue here.