Starting Black And White Photography

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Have you ever noticed how some black and white photos just stand out? And when you go to try and take the same kind of photo it just doesn’t do the same thing?

There are a couple of starting pointers that I want to share with you about black and white photography with a digital camera. The first thing I can tell you is that to make a good black and white photo you must have good texture. Texture, or what something is made of, seems to be enhanced with grey scale.

Certain textures, such as natural textures seem to respond well in black and white. Black and white is all about capturing a sense of the dramatic, so if your subject has texture that is naturally dramatic, then you have the first step to a good black and white photo. Textures such as wood grain, stark metal, repeated patterns in nature such as waves or spirals seem to work well in black and white.

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With black and white photography, try to keep some symmetry in your texture. Its easier to create stunning black and white photos when you have symmetry in your texture because it can sometimes be lost in colour. Symmetrical textures in black and white are consistently beautiful and offer something the eye cannot capture as well when working in colour.

Grey Scale is not just the absence of colour, or everything taken in shades of grey. To understand and master black and white photography with your digital you must understand the concept of grey scale.

Grey Scale is a spectrum of black, lots of grey and white, like the colours of a rainbow but in a series of black and white and grey tones. You see a black and white photo is not really only black and white; it is actually lots of different shades and different depths of grey. So when we talk about grey scale it just means the way we measure tones of grey. Included in the grey scale is of course black and white.

This sounds odd to say, but when finding what looks good in black and white photography you can start with high contrasting colours in your every day subjects at home. Stark colours such as red, deep purples and bright yellows can make a really good starting point. With bold colours such as these, your camera will interpret them differently. It’s almost as if the camera leaves out what the eye distinguishes as that particular colour and keeps the intensity there. I won’t go into the technical jargon now, but for now, just try experimenting on those colours. If you can’t find these colours around your home, try going out into the garden and taking flowers that have these colours, or go to a nursery, plant store or public gardens.

black and white flower photography at home in your garden- choose delicate subjects for greater depth

You see black and white is not just ‘no colour’. Its so much more, so much deeper then that. The purpose of black and white nowadays (as opposed to when it was the standard and people had no choice) is that it creates a sense of stillness in time, and with the right perspective, a great story.

If you want to take classy black and white photos with fine detail, super sharp focus, clarity and depth, take a look at Digital Photography Success. This e-book package includes excellent step-by-step instructions on how to master black and white photography, easily and without technical jargon. It covers high contrast issues, editing your black and white images, giving your black and whites a timeless look, black and white portraits and much more. Learn how to shoot professional photos – just like those you see in glossy black and white photography magazines.

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (3)

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  1. Ashley Jones says:

    This is a really excellent piece. It gets you thinking about the subject. Lets have some more please. Thank you for posting it.

  2. Louise says:

    There are several ways to achieve black and white digital photography. With black and white digital photography, you are bringing the end user back into a period of time when life seemed a lot simpler. Many digital cameras come equipped with a function to take these types of photos. If your digital camera does not support this function, you can still change your photographs into black and white with software programs.

    You’ll want your black and white digital photography to look its best when you are finished. A technique that can help you get the best image out of your digital photograph is through image manipulation. You may find it better to convert your eight-bit color images (which are usually jpegs) into 16-bit colors first. This is important because an 8-bit RGB can be the same as a 10-bit grayscale.

    You can find information all over on the Internet to help you with your black and white digital photography. These resources can be found in everything from websites to magazines. Colored pictures can look truly beautiful as a black and white display. You will usually have to convert your graphics, because although there are options with digital cameras, there are no true black and white digital cameras.

    Correct the Colorcasts

    An important part of black and white digital photography is correcting the colorcasts. These are caused by bad lighting, but you can use software such as PhotoShop Elements to make the relevant changes by using their editing applications. The Imaging Factory is also software that can help you to easily convert and fix lighting areas in your graphics to get the best look with your black and white digital photography. If you want to turn your graphics into black and white digital photography, you can step into a completely new dimension in photography. You can do an endless array of projects right from your own computer.

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