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Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots can work really well in monochrome photography, especially where there’s moving water or clouds. During the exposure the highlights of the water, for example, are recorded across a wider place than they would with a short exposure and this can help enhance tonal contrast. The blurring of the movement also adds textural contrast with any solid objects in the frame. If compulsory , use a neutral density filter such as Lee Filters’ Big Stopper or Little Stopper to decrease exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). naturally , when exposures extend farther than about 1/60 sec a tripod is required to keep the camera still and avoid blurring. It’s also advisable to use a remote release and mirror lock-up to minimise vibration and produce super-sharp images.

Shoot RAW + JPEG. The unsurpassed monochrome conversions are set foot on by editing raw files which have the full colour information, but if you shoot raw and JPEG files simultaneously and set the camera to its monochrome photograph Style/Picture Control/Film Simulation mode you get an indication of how the image will look in black and white. As many photographers struggle to visualise a scene in black and white, these monochrome modes are an invaluable tool that will help with composition and scene assessment. most cameras are also capable of producing decent in-camera monochrome images these days and it’s worth experimenting with image parameters (usually contrast, sharpness, filter effects and toning) to find a look that you like. Because compact method cameras and compact cameras show the scene seen by the sensor with camera settings applied, users of these cameras are able to preview the monochrome image in the electronic viewfinder or on rear screen before taking the shot. DSLR users should also do this if they activate their camera’s live funny feeling convention , but the usually slower responses mean that most will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.

Take Control. Although coloured filters could still be used to manipulate contrast when shooting digital black and white images, it’s more common to save this work until the processing stage. Until a a couple years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the favorite means of turning colour images monochrome, but now Adobe Camera Raw has more forceful tools (in the HSL/Grayscale tab) that allow you to adjust the brightness of eight individual colours that make up the image. It’s possible to adjust single of these colours to make it anything from white to black with the sliding control. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the whole image when adjusting a particular colour as crafty gradations should become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or rosy shirt with the red sliding control, for moment , will have an impact on the model’s skin, especially the lips. The Levels and Curves controls can also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create differentiation between objects of the same brightness but with unique colours.

Look for Contrast, Shape and Texture. The complimentary and opposing colours that bring a colour image to life are all reduced to black and white or shades of grey in a monochrome image and you have to look for tonal contrast to make a shot stand out. In colour photography, for example, your eye would straight away be drawn to a red object on a green background, but in monochrome photography these two areas are likely to have the same brightness, so the image looks flat and dull straight from the camera. happily , it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours discretely to introduce some contrast. However, a good starting point is to look for scenes with tonal contrast. There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some forceful blacks and whites. This should be achieved by the light or by the brightness (or tone) of the objects in the scene as well as the exposure settings that you use. The brightness of the bark of a silver birch tree for example, can inject some contrast (and interest) in to a woodland scene. Setting the exposure for these brighter areas also makes the shadows darker, so the highlights stand out even more. Look for shapes, patterns and textures in a scene and move around to find the most excellent composition.

Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a custom that comes from the traditional darkroom and is usually used to burn in or darken highlights and hold back (brighten) shadows. Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools allow a level of control that film photographers could only thought of taking a degree of because you could target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you could use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to brighten up them to increase local contrast. It’s a good mode of sharing a sense of better sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you should set the opacity of the tools, you may build up their effect gradually so the impact is crafty and there are no hard edges.

Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are simply as advantageous in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more useful . An ND grad is helpful when you want to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter may be used to decrease reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, estimate taking two or more shots with diverse exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite. Don’t be anxious to use a ND grad with a standard neural density filter if the sky is brighter than the foreground in a long exposure shot. Coloured filters, which are an essential tool for monochrome film photographers, may also be advantageous for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of their opposite colour while lightening objects of their own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green single will lighten foliage.

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One of the most well-known photographers of monochromatic imagery is Ansel Adams, whose name is practically synonymous with black and white landscape photography. Several well-known photojournalists used the medium to document current events. Dorothea Lange is known for “Migrant Mother” (1936) and other images of life during the Great Depression, Robert Capa is famed for his war photo essays like “Capturing the Truth,” and Ernest Cole and David Goldblatt photographed apartheid life in South Africa. Modernist photographer Alfred Stieglitz is credited with producing the first abstract photographs in his “Equivalents” series (1925-1934), which depicted the sky and clouds. Famous black and white photographs include Robert Doisneau’s iconic “Kiss by the Town Hall” (1950) and artist Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills” self-portrait series (1977-1980). Other photographers famed for their black and white photography include Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Man Ray, Raoul Hausmann, Brassai, Seydou Keita, Malick Sidibe, Ray K. Metzker, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and fashion photographer Herb Ritts.

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The history of black and white photography originated in ancient times with the advent of the camera obscura, but the development of the medium did not really take off until the early 1800s. The refinement of the camera arose from a series of experiments, beginning with Thomas Wedgwood’s silver nitrate paper method. In the 1820s, Nicephore Niepce successfully created a photograph, though the process took days to complete and only produced negatives. His partner Louis Daguerre yielded better results with his well-known daguerreotype process, which was introduced to the public in 1839. This invention sparked a high demand for portraiture. Later experiments shortened exposure time and improved the formal qualities of photographs. Photographer Sergei Lvovich Levitsky introduced the use of interchangeable backdrops for photo shoots and retouched negatives to remove any imperfections. By 1884, portable film replaced glass plates, and soon after, the first Kodak cameras were sold. As cameras and film became more accessible to the public, black and white photographic art developed both inside and outside the studio. Today the tradition continues on both digital and analog platforms.

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Black and white photography is a truly timeless medium. Line, texture, contrast, and tone are dramatically brought to the fore in monochromatic images. Even today, long after the advent of color film, some photographers still choose to work exclusively in B&W for how it allows them to portray their subjects in new, often surprising ways. Whether you’re looking for exclusive, limited edition black and white prints or high quality poster-sized prints, we’re confident that Saatchi Art’s global selection of black & white photography for sale contains works that suit your personal style and space. 

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Photographers can choose to start with a color photo, then dramatically alter the overall effect using digital conversion to grayscale or edit their black and white photography with color accents. Conversely, those who prefer analog photography may choose to shoot using black and white film. Although the virtues of film over digital in the realm of black and white photography is highly debatable, some analog enthusiasts cite such subtleties as film grain, dynamic range (i.e. whiter whites and blacker blacks), and more detailed highlights as top reasons for shooting with black and white film. Photographers may also decide to manipulate their black and white photographs. Surrealist photographers, for example, used techniques like multiple exposures, brulage (in which the negative is heated and partially burned), and solarization (in which the color tones are reversed), to achieve an uncanny effect in their works. Regardless of the process, many contemporary fine-art photographers still choose to use some level of digital image editing for enhancement. 

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