Apr 24 2007

Shades of Gray

Published by at 8:45 pm under Tips and Ideas

Many professional photographers choose to shoot not only in color, but also in black and white. Black and white photographs have a classic look about them, and the techniques used for shooting a roll of film in black and white are not drastically different than when shooting a roll of film in color. Black and white photography is sometimes even easier for beginners to learn their technique, because you are focused more on light and composition than color.

Black and white photography can be more rewarding that color photography if you don’t always have perfect shooting conditions. What may look excellent in black and white can often make a washed out, mediocre color photograph. Consider black and white photography especially when shooting outside on overcast days. If you don’t have adequate lighting, the spectacular colors you see in real life will translate as faded and not so spectacular in your prints. On the other hand, you won’t be able to see this effect in black and white, so your picture will be focused more on the actual subject matter. Whether you’re exploring a new area on vacation or simply want some prints of your hometown, if the day isn’t bright and sunny, consider black and white.

Photography done in black and white is also a good choice for portraits. Skin tone is a tricky thing in many color photographs-people tend to dislike close-up shots because they can clearly see blemishes in coloring. With black and white, this will be much less noticeable. Your subject’s skin tone will magically seem to even out. Black and white photography can also get rid of the stark contrast between someone’s bright face and the dull background. In general, black and white photography gives your subject a classic look, and is a good choice to help set the mood for romantic subject matters, such as weddings.

Black and white photography, although it seems daunting, is just as easy as color photography. When you learn to use black and white film, pay special attention to the shapes and lines in your frame-these will be more noticeable in your picture. Also be sure to look at color tones. The best black and white photography has very light areas contrasted by very dark areas. After a few rolls of film, you will get the feel for the art of black and white photography, and you can begin printing photographs that would make any photographer proud.

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