Sep 21 2007

The Basics Of Black And White Digital Photography

Published by at 8:25 am under Tips and Ideas

There are very few items that can match the timelessness of a black and white photograph. The lack of color is great for capturing raw emotions and magical moments without the detraction of vibrant colors. Black and white digital photography captures life on its most basic level and heightens the mood and the drama of the photograph. Many individuals choose to have their wedding photos done in black and white to capture the spirit of the day.

Black And White Digital Photography Options

With black and white digital photography, photographers have three options to choose from. The first option is to shoot the pictures in black and white. Many cameras have the ability to shoot in monochrome and the user’s manual for the digital camera will instruct the photographer in how to use this function. The photograph will appear in the viewing window in black and white, so the photographer can see exactly what the picture will look like.

Some digital cameras will allow the photographer to change their images from color to black and white digital photography within the camera itself. This program creates a copy of the image and converts it into monochrome while still saving a copy of the image in full color. This allows the photographer to see the image both ways and choose which is best for their needs. Some images convert well to black and white digital photography while others are best viewed in full color.

The last option, which is used by many amateur photographers, is to print the photograph in black and white using a standard computer or photo printer. Although this is not true black and white digital photography, it accomplishes the same goal. The shading will not be as crisp as if the photograph was manipulated with a software program, but the images will be of an acceptable quality. A major disadvantage of this option is that you cannot view the image in black and white before printing the photograph.

Of the three options for black and white digital photography, shooting the photographs in black and white achieves the best results. This is also the best option for creating larger prints and portraits. There are many images that look very good in black and white digital photography, such as a bride in her wedding dress or classic landscapes. Whatever the reason it is being used, black and white digital photography can create wonderful images in a classic way.

Print in black and white:

You can print black and white photos from those taken in color by using the Grayscale setting, available in your printer preferences menu.

All of these methods work well. However, if your goal is to create larger black-and-white prints, shooting in black and white will yield the best results.

Contrast – the difference between the light and dark areas in a photo is an essential part of black-and-white photography. There are three levels of contrast that you can experiment with when you shoot:

High contrast means striking white and black tones, with minimal gray. It can heighten tension or add drama to photos. Look for bright light and shadows to shoot in high contrast.

Normal contrast provides the most “realistic” presentation of an image, where some things in the photo are light or white, some are dark or black, and some are in-between, or gray.
Contrasts that are strong in color, such as red against green, look about equal in black and white, making for normal contrast.

Low contrast keeps tones mostly in the mid-range, so there are lots of grays.
Atmospheric weather, such as fog, is perfect for shooting low contrast black-and-white photos. Emotional occasions, such as weddings, are ideal opportunities to shoot black and white. And don’t forget group shots. Black and white shots mean that clashing clothing isn’t a problem.

Black and white lends itself to a variety of subjects:

Texture and patterns: Try shooting interesting textures and lines, or patterns in nature. Details that are barely noticeable in color become more prominent and poetic.

Portraits: Baby pictures, wedding photos, family portraits (candid or posed) gain a classic quality when shot in black and white.

Landscapes: From the mountains to your backyard, outdoor shots look magnificent in black and white

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