Are you one of those who love black and white photos whenever you see a beautiful landscape, a beautiful architecture like buildings or bridges, or just need to capture priceless moments? Good thing that with all the digital cameras in the market today, it is very easy to click away compared to back in the days when you have to spend hours in the dark room to make a black and white print. Of course there are things that can make your monochrome shot like a pro:
How can you tell if it is a good black and white photo
A black and white photo is beautiful in itself and not just an excuse for a bad shot that will not be as good when taken in full color. Remember that it will not be wise to shoot during an overcast day if you are planning to have a great black and white photo. Bad light means flat and dull monotone picture.
If you know the basic rules of colored photography, they also apply to black and white photoshoots. The best time to take pictures to have good lighting will be during the early mornings or late afternoons. You are not really after the vibrance but for the low angle and the softness of the image. Too much light during the mid day will make you miss the details of structures or of faces.
Black and white photos call for contrast and the exact lighting (which should not be directly overhead). B&W is all about lights and shadows and your picture will be richer with the interplay of correct light and shadows.
Composing a black and white photography is not the same as your coloured pictures. The reds and the greens will basically look the same in monotone pictures so what you should be in the look for will be light and contrast.
You should also avoid featureless colored stuff. Example, the blue sky will be nice looking in colored images but just be grey. It is another story if the sky has nice cloud formations which adds to the activity and drama of the picture.
Look for textures to create a beautiful image. Again, look for the interplay of lights and shadows or dark tones. Directional lighting works well with portraits too so you can show the details of the hair, skin, or face.
If you want to see if a particular frame will look good in black and white, try looking at it by squinting so the colors are reduced and so you can judge how the tones will look like.
Shooting black and white
Most digital cameras now will allow you to shoot in black and white in just a few clicks of a button. In general though the images produced lack the drama a monotone picture needs. In case you shot the frame in color and convert it using a computer software, the images may also be flat without the rich blacks it needs.
The best way to take pictures will be using RAW file formats which you can later manipulate to become black and white. RAW is like a digital negative which has all the details. You can convert this later to other positive file formats like jpeg or tiff.
In case you do not have an option to take RAW with your digital camera, do not worry. You can go with the black and white option and process the picture to give it the necessary umph.
When you have you have a RAW image, try to lower the saturation to get the simple monotone image. Make most of the adjustments for the brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows. Play the image to get the brighter feel or the rich shadows to create a good frame.
Some also make use of filters of red, orange, or yellow over their camera lens to enhance some features in the image. Enhancement means, lightening the bushes for example so the image will not be dominated by too much grey or maybe darken the blue sky a bit so it will blend well with the rest of the composition. These effects can also be achieved digitally through adjustment of the tint, white balance, and color temperatures. Try to move the color temperature to the bluer and end and you can achieve a darker sky. Adjust the scale to the warmer direction and the skin will be lighter compared to the rest of the image.
In the end, it takes practice and patience to create an excellent black and white picture. Enjoy your travel and do not be tired of clicking away to capture all the memories you can treasure, which makes life more colourful.
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