Black and White Photography

Black and White PhotographyBallet: Black and white

Black and White Photography and Black and White photos / Images.

In today’s era of digital camera technology black and white photography often awake nostalgic feelings, but since the time the first film was taken and developed, black and white has been if not the favorite choice among master photographers around the world. So why is it one of the preferred medium for pro photographers, artists and masters of the trade? Well it’s elegant, classic, special and even romantic. The refined quality, uncluttered and simplicity look of black and white gives the subject a polished and high class feel, the image or picture will make the viewers recognize uniqueness and individuality of the subject without the distractions of color and can turns a drab color image into an amazing black and white.

Overcast Days

Coming back from a trip or a shoot to become disappointed to discover the images looking boring and washed out because of a bright overcast grey sky, but if you where to have chosen to photograph your subject in black and white, results would often be quite astounding, black and white creates a focus towards forms and patterns in the image and away from a dull overcast grey sky and may even blow out the toned shy to create a lovely feel to the image.

PortraitsB&W Face

Black and white works really well for portraits, Skin tones are mellowed; uneven shades, blemishes, blotches…are less easily noticeable then with color photos, The thing is our eyes are very critical of facial tones but not in black and white photos.

Taking Black and White Images

Monochrome photo’s are just timeless, they enhance emotional substance and have a disposition of making photos look more artistic. Black and White can be used on many different scenes as you are not think about all the colors that should match and look good together in the light available. And for those who shoot in color should know black and white photography isn’t boring as there are so many different shades to choose from. Gray scale is a spectrum of black and white which evolves into different depths of gray shades and grays of shadows. So when we talking about gray scale its how we measure tones of gray. Here are a few thing you might want to know when it comes to Black & White Photography.

  • If you are shooting with Digital and your camera has the option of RAW, you should use it, because it will give you many new possibilities and more control of your image’s appearance. The negative of RAW files can be processed in so many ways later. If you use RAW files, your computer, rather than your camera will process and generate your images and records. You can for example use Adobe Photoshop to process the images. If you don’t have the RAW function on your camera, don’t worry there are still plenty of other ways to get great black and white photographs.
  • Rich textures and detailed sceneries will help your photograph become comprehensible and exciting. Patterns are really great in black and white photographs whereas colors taking the attention away from them. So if you want to emphasize patterns, then black and white tones are perfect compared to color.Washing black and white
  • In the way of use light and with the help of light you can get great contrast. Contrast will bring the tonal differences in your photography. You will learn much faster about lighting which is the key factor in photography through using Black and White and contrast is so important. Distinct contrast in dark shades and bright light will make you able to see things you didn’t see before.
  • Where light comes into play so does your ISO number. In photography this is the indication of the sensitivity of your sensor or your film, the higher the ISO number the more sensitive it is to light and has the possibilities of taking pictures in low lighting, without the use of using flash, the downside of a High ISO number is the “grain” of the film, High ISO number in film makes a grainier image or also known as Noise in your picture, so the lower your ISO number the smoother your film is and the sharper you can shoot, but with a lower ISO number you need more light, but more often grain or noise compliments a black and white image on a shady or dim day.
  • Black and White Photography can look great in all circumstances and occasions, Monochrome photographs brings a sensitive experience and story into a shoot, which brings depth and if shooting a subject or person brings more graphic elements to an image because of its contrast, but when shooting large spaces for example foliage’s or landscapes, just make sure your subject is dynamic or has more tones in its elements or the image may turn out a bit boring, sometimes a single subject is the favorite choice for black and white and mostly for portraits, where the grey scale really has an affect on emphasizing a person’s.

Brian Povlsen PhotographyThe Exposure

(between digital and Film black and white)

The objective of getting correct exposure in film black and white photography is to capture as much of the dynamic range of the scene as possible, with as much contrast in the critical midtones as feasible. The same applies for digital, only the rules are reversed.

The big difference between digital and “silver” black and white is in dynamic range. Black and white film has so much latitude that it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that no matter how you expose it, you’ll get a usable picture. Moreover, black and white particularly likes overexposure: in fact, it’s common practice to shoot Black and White film at one stop below its rated sensitivity ISO400 film at ISO200, and so on. With digital, it’s the other way around: to get a good picture, you need to be pretty careful with the exposure, especially at higher sensitivities, and especially careful not to overexpose, otherwise you’ll lose the highlights.

Digital cameras are designed to mimic color slide in their response. In fact, blown highlights are less distracting in color photography, since the color adds another dimension to the picture: the blown-out bits aren’t necessarily the ones that stick out. B/W lives and dies on tonality, and blown-out bits are much nastier… unless you work them into the look of the picture, that is. Moreover, “digital highlights” even below the blow-out point are often flattish, lacking in tonal detail.

There is another important difference about black and white and color; noise or grain. Noise generally looks pretty bad in color photography, while in black and white it can actually add interest to it, so much that at times it might even be advisable to add noise to the final product.

Be as it may, while with digital color photography blown highlights are an issue to be managed, with black and white, they must be fought. In fact, the main issue while behind the camera becomes to make the most of the dynamic range there is. There are a number of approaches to this.

When in doubt,then underexpose. Digital cameras actually gain in capture fidelity the closer they are to blowing out. However, they tend to be economical of their highlight detail in their default conversions, in order to keep noise down: rich highlight detail has to be pulled from the mid-tones, which have to be in turn pulled from the shadows, which boosts noise. With black and white, richer highlights are more important than low noise. Therefore, it always pays to underexpose and pull up the tonal detail into the highlights instead of increasing sensor sensitivity, you’ll buy richer highlight tonality with increased shadow noise. Of course, this only makes any sense if there’s any detail in there to work with, underexposing so much that the histogram “flat-lines” completely isn’t a good idea. On a DSLR, a stop under won’t mean a thing at ISO400, and has minimal impact even at ISO800. By putting the exposure well under, you’ll avoid clipping highlights – an annoyance for color, it can seriously lessen the impact of a black & white print. This is especially true if you’re shooting JPEG rather than RAW: the richer tonal detail nearer the mid-tones will end up looking a lot better in the final print.


Black and White Photography — 33 Comments

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