I’ve noticed lately that the popularity of Black and White Photography has been on the rise. In my opinion, using the technique of black and white images can be very beneficial to the photograph, as well as very detrimental. Two of the best Black and White photographers in my opinion are Ansel Adams and Paul Politis. I think they have both successfully mastered the art of black and white photography, as well as making breathtaking images.
In order to make a black and white images successful, there are a few things I feel are important to keep in mind. The first is, “When to Shoot.” Many photographers prefer to shoot black and white images in low contrast situations, making a dark or overcast day perfect for out door shots. These are usually the conditions most people prefer to not shoot in, however next time its a gloomy day, take the challenge and practice shooting in black and white.
The next thing to keep in mind is, “Composition.” Most of the same rules apply to color photography as they do to black and white photography. Although, the one main difference is that you’re unable to use color to lead the eye into or around your point of interest in the shot in a black and white image. As a result, you have to train yourself to look at shapes, tones and textures in your frame as points of interest. Shadows and highlights are good examples of this.
The last thing to keep in mind is to “Shoot in Low ISO.” Shooting in the lowest ISO setting possible, will guarantee there to be the least amount of “noise” in your images. This makes the image cleaner and more pleasing to the eye.
Although all of these tips are completely self-preference, I truly believe they will help to make your black and white images more effective. If you’re lacking confidence in me however, these Five Vital Tips elaborate on what I have found to be effective myself.
I will leave you with a photo essay a fellow student of mine shot last semester in my photography class. This was a month long assignment and Charlie’s use of Black and White Photography definitely had a powerful impact on how his essay was viewed. Look closely for the tips I talked about that make good images, because there are lots of good examples here.