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A Few Tips On What Looks Good In Black And White

Black and white is still a useful and rewarding format, as shown here.

|  General Photography
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Words by Emma Kay.

David Clapp tree

Photo courtesy of David Clapp


Gear:

  • Camera - DSLR or compact camera
  • Tripod, for landscape photography
  • Lens hood in bright conditions

Technique:


Most cameras have a black and white option somewhere in the menu, but where this is will vary depending on the make and model of your camera. If you can't find the black and white setting, don't worry as you can always use Photoshop or a similar programme to turn full colour photos in to black and white once you get them on your computer. Keep your ISO as low as possible as noise is more noticeable when working in black and white, however there are times when a little bit of 'grain' can add interest to a black and white photo but as you can add this in post production, you're better off leaving it out of your original shot. Overcast days are great for black and white photography so next time you look at the sky and think your day of shooting landscapes should be called off, think again.

For a shot to work in black and white you need a clean, simple composition that has strong, recognisable shapes. Areas with dark and light areas, such as a dark sky dotted with white clouds, work well too.

Working an hour or two before sunset when the sun is slightly lower in the sky will give your subject(s) more definition while morning light dappled through trees in a forest will always look great in black and white. Bare trees will look really creepy, especially if you can get the moon in shot while the paths, fences and other lines found around a forest will help lead the eye through a black and white shot.

Still life can also benefit from a black and white makeover. Things such as glasses with reflection on will look great, but also old and worn items often look better in black and white than in full colour. Try placing the object against a background that will give it context, enhancing the overall look of your shot.

Character portraits can also work well with black and white, particularly when the person you're photographing has distinctive features on their faces such as deep wrinkles.

For more tips on shooting and converting landscapes to black and white, take a look at this previous article: Monochrome Landscapes

Find the tripod and camera bag to suit your needs at www.vanguardworld.co.uk


 


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