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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Lost Art Of Shooting Black-And-White

Discover the secrets of classic B&W master photographers and see how you can apply their methods to working with your DSLR

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Black-And-White Isn't Color Removal
If you remember nothing else about black-and-white photography, remember this—it's not about the removal of color. Black-and-white requires its own way of seeing, and you learn that seeing from shooting in black-and-white, not from using software.

All photographers should take time to shoot in black-and-white. I've seen how it makes photographers better, and it can energize you because it pushes you to find new ways of taking pictures. I often take time to shoot just in black-and-white to refine my photography and break up patterns that may keep me from being my best.

All advanced digital cameras will allow you to shoot in black-and-white, but there's a trick to doing this that will give you more control and help you learn more easily. Shoot RAW + JPEG. This gives you a black-and-white JPEG image and a color RAW file. Everything you shoot will now appear as black-and-white on your LCD, so you can actually see and control the black-and-white image as you shoot.

Textural Contrast
A very rich and useful contrast for black-and-white landscape photography is textural contrast (it also works well for other types of photography, but it's especially good for landscapes). This is any contrast in texture between two objects or areas in a photograph.

Now, this isn't simply about seeing and photographing texture (although that can be interesting). It's about looking for the contrast between textures. A very obvious change in texture is between the fine detail of a forest covering the side of a mountain next to the smooth water of a lake. A rough boulder with big texture might contrast with the refined texture of a wildflower. A smooth stream can contrast with the rough texture of its rocky edges.

Leaves frequently work great for texture contrast. So often you'll find big leaves near finely divided leaves to create this contrast. A big, bold skunk cabbage leaf stands out against nearby ferns because their textures are so different from each other.

Sidelight and backlight can be very useful to enhance textures so that you can better see their contrasts.
Front light tends to flatten out texture and will make these contrasts disappear.


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