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Black & white photography shooting tips

Black & white photography shooting tips - Pete Williams gives us five reasons why we should try black & white photography

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General Photography

Black and white photography is often treated as the inferior alternative to colour - after all, why limit yourself to monotone shades when you can use the full spectrum of colours? But this is a very limited way of thinking, because black and white photos can often be even more striking than the colour equivalent.

Follow these five essential tips to make the most of your black & white photography.

1. Shape and Form
By removing colour from your scene, you are doing away with one of most potentially distracting elements in your photo. This will focus the viewer's attention on the shapes and forms within a scene. When composing your shot, look beyond the colours in the scene and instead arrange your scene's elements in a way that is visually enticing.

2. Contrast
Without differences in colour to separate the objects in your scene, contrast becomes even more important, because it will stop objects merging into one another. If you are photographing a light subject, try to frame it on a dark background, and vice versa. Increasing the variety of tones and shades in your scene also helps to add depth.

3. Pattern
In colour photography, the colours themselves can often distract attention away from any patterns within a scene. However, by shooting in black and white you can direct the viewer's attention back to the pattern, making it appear much more prominent.

4. Texture
Whenever we look at a photo, we immediately begin to build up a mental picture of the scene in our mind. One of the main ways our brain does this is by using the colour information available in the photo. Of course if we shoot in black and white, this colour information isn't available, so the brain pays more attention to other elements, such as texture. This makes the texture appear more detailed and engaging.

5. Lighting
Lighting affects all of the above elements, and so it is absolutely essential to a good black and white photograph. When framing your scene, think about how the lighting affects the shapes, contrast, patterns and textures in your scene, and try to choose a shooting angle that emphasises the most important ones. Side lighting usually gives excellent results because it adds depth to your three-dimensional objects with highlights and shadows, and enhances the textures, patterns and surface details within the scene.

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excellent article...

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