Tips On Shooting Monochrome Shots
Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
|Category:||Landscape and Travel|
Black & White Landscape Photography Advice - Want to shoot some monochrome landscapes? Take a look at this article.
Photo by David Clapp.
- Wide angle lens – for landscapes and buildings (watch out for converging verticals if you aim your lens upwards)
- Filters – a polarising filter will help with reflections and darken bright skies
What Works?Clean, simple composition is the way to go when you're working in monochrome as the conversion of tones from colour to black & white don't always stand out as well and it can be hard to distinguish between different parts of the shot. If you don't use strong structures and familiar shapes such as trees, rocks and architecture, your shot can lose impact and as a result, not be as interesting.
Look for repetitive patterns and strong lines that can help draw people into the image while strong foreground interest and lead in lines will further help guide the eye from the front to the back of your shot.
As with all landscape subjects, before taking your shot, know if you want a shallow or wide depth of field. Wider is good when you have several points of interest throughout the image as you need everything in frame to be sharp.
Light And ColoursSome tones which can easily be picked out when you're working in colour, such as light blues and yellows, will look almost the same when you convert them to monochrome.
Although black & white shots are slightly more forgiving than coloured shots when it comes to shooting closer to midday, the best time of day to shoot is either is just after dawn or before dusk, to get low angled glancing light.
Skies dotted with white skies are perfect for black & white landscapes as the contrast between the white clouds and what turns into a dark grey or even black sky creates plenty of mood.
An hour or two before sunset when the sun is slightly lower in the sky will give more definition to the shapes that sit in your foreground. Keep an eye on your meter readings though as it's easy to overexpose the shot, losing the mood and detail you're looking for as a result. Your histogram can be a useful tool if you find it tricky to see if a shots under or overexposed.
In Camera Of After?It is up to you whether you shoot black & white in-camera or make your mono conversions on the computer when you're back home. Just remember if you shoot monochrome Jpegs you won't be able to get the colour back later if you don't like the black & white shot.
Post ProductionThanks to the digital age, tweaking images so they're a little darker or lighter in places is something we can all do. To add more contrast to your monochrome images make a simple S-Cruve adjustment or try adjusting colours individually so you can, for example, darken the blue of the sky but make the grass slightly lighter. Another way to adjust the shadows/highlights in your shot is with the Dodge and Burn tools. The Dodge tool will lighten parts of the image while the Burn tool will darken the shot. You use them just as you do the Paintbrush tool, changing the brushes' strength, opacity and size as needed. Work slowly with these brushes as if you're too heavy handed the results can be a little too strong.
Find out more about Vanguard's products by clicking these links: