Improve Photography’s tips are comprehensive and best for seasoned photographers that have not yet done a lot of work in black and white. Tips include pay attention to noise and spotting lines and patterns in scenes. Crystallizes and builds upon the basic advice introduced in the preceding articles.
SLR Photography Guide offers excellent advice on how to turn your digital SLR camera into a monochrome powerhouse. This article offers advice for digital camera owners and while the advice given in the other articles is general enough to be applied universally, digital cameras feature a few quirks that are worth noting before setting out for a shoot.
BH Photo Video will tell you how to make your black and white pictures look like film noir stills from the Golden Age of Hollywood – this website is focused on advice for creating artistic prints and stylistic creations.
Improve Your Black & White Landscapes Instantly By Following One Simple Rule – Learn the one main rule that’ll instantly improve your black & white landscapes.
This can be a problem with many black and white landscape images. I find the elements within the frame will become much more distinct when the contrast enhanced. In the film world we would use a coloured filter such as a Yellow, Orange or Red placed in front of the lens to help boost contrast. We might also use exposure techniques and higher contrast papers when printing in the darkroom.In the digital age the easiest way to add contrast is by applying an S-Curve in your editing package. Also don’t overlook Midtone contrast as this can really add to the monochrome landscape image. The easiest way to add Midtone contrast is in RAW conversion software that has a Clarity slider, which is essentially the same thing. In the following image of the Polish Tetras I have significantly boosted the Midtone contrast to help provide some separation between the trees which would otherwise blend into a solid grey tone.
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“6 Tips to Help You Make Better Black and White Landscape Photos” from Digital Photography School
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Petapixel’s 6 tips for monochrome photography are more nuanced and speak to a somewhat seasoned photographer, including advice like “burn and shoot” using Photoshop’s “Dodge” and “Burn” tools. This advice is best read after you have a working knowledge of black and white photography gleaned from Amateur Photographer and Photography Life.
The list of thirteen articles crosses a wide variety of websites that we think offer some really solid advice for helping both beginners and veterans alike with insights that are field tested and considered best practices as well as aesthetic and spiritual considerations in the production of monochrome masterpieces.
“Shades of Gray: Tips for Black & White Landscape Photography” from Craftsy
While you would not expect it, Tech Radar has some excellent advice on how to take photos. This should polish off the basics for you and make you ready to focus on capturing landscapes in black and white.
“5 Black and White Landscape Photography Tips” from CreativeLive Blog
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CreativeLive Blog’s tips are the perfect starting point for monochrome landscape photography beginners, with five tips that should get you on the right path to taking epic black and white landscapes.
13 Incredibly Useful Articles For Getting Started With Black and White Landscape Photography
So remember the rule; if you want to capture strong black and white landscapes you need to separate the elements in the frame.Words and images by Robin Whalley
“15 Tips For Stunning Black and White Photography” from Improve Photography
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Outdoor Photographer’s tips are similarly comprehensive as Improve Photography’s but offer more advice on how to use tools like Photoshop to improve the look of your monochrome captures. This advice is focused on how to view mother nature through the eyes of a black and white photography veteran and how to set up shows with the potential to look like Ansel Adam’s style masterpieces.
“Improve Your Black & White Landscapes Instantly By Following One Simple Rule” from Ephotozine
“Black and White Landscape Photography Tips” from SLR Photography Guide
“The Lost Art Of Shooting Black-And-White Photos” from Outdoor Photographer
Advice from FStoppers, including how to factor the weather into your black and white landscapes. Weather can have a huge impact on the way a black and white photograph presentes because it also directly impacts the amount of light available to the photographer. As established above, light is essential to striking black and white photos.
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The tools we now have available in the digital darkroom make life much easier. Ideally you need a conversion technique that allows you to target different colours so they appear as different tones in the final image. For example you might darken a blue sky whilst lightening grass and foliage. If you were using black and white film you would use a Green or Yellow filter to achieve this effect but tools such as Photoshop and Lightroom make this easy to achieve.A further tip you might like to try is selectively changing the colour for some areas of your image. This will make them respond differently during the conversion to Black and White and help provide separation.
Take Better Photos At The Beach With These 6 Tips 1 Jun 2018 4 Comments
While landscapes is the end goal of this advice list, it is not the only focus: After all, if you don’t even know that the art of capturing black and white photos consists of a little more than simply switching your setting to monochrome, then the basic advice contained in the first few selections will be of great use to you. Overall, the list varies from the technical to the aspirational, from relying on your intuition solely to utilizing Photoshop to make mother nature that much more majestic.
“Five Tips for Shooting Black and White Landscapes” from FStoppers
Strong composition can also help in separating the elements of the image even where they might have similar tones. One good way to ensure a good composition for black and white is to include a strong foreground interest. Seek out strong shapes in the landscape such as walls and trees that might provide a leading line into the landscape. Strong distinctive shapes are easier for the eye to pick out and understand even when the tones are similar.In this example I have used the strong shape of the rocks to provide a bold foreground interest. I have also used other techniques discussed below to enhance the separation of objects in the scene.
This list is by no means comprehensive and there are probably many more amazing resources out there for you to consider. But as a starting point, you can’t do much better than the above. Now that you have some idea of what black and white photography is about, grab the nearest camera and literally give it a shot. Leave your own tips and experiences in the comments below!
Craftsy’s tips are exclusively geared toward black and white landscape photography and not black and white photography in general – you should know your game before taking this advice. It also focuses on the importance of using contrast in black and white photos.
Improve Your Black & White Landscapes Instantly By Following One Simple Rule Techniques / Improve Your Black & White Landscapes Instantly By Following One Simple Rule
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Take Better Photos At The Beach With These 6 Tips 1 Jun 2018
“Mono magic: Black and white landscape photography” from Amateur Photographer
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The technique of dodging and burning an image has been around from the early days of photography and was used extensively by masters such as Ansel Adams. In this image I have created a conversion that deliberately darkened the ground to create a contrast with the waterfall. I then used the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop to emphasise this as well as lightening selected areas of grass. When you dodge and burn an image it helps to create the feeling of interest in the scene for the viewer.
“How to Take Black and White Pictures” – from Photography Life
“10 Tips on How to Create Better Black & White Images” from BH Photo Video
Some more advice on how to get started in black and white photography. More in depth than the above and focused on the beginnings of landscape monochrome photography.
Capping off the basics and mastery advice, Ephotozine discusses the importance of separating the elements in a good black and white photo.
To achieve a good black and white image you need to have separation between the elements in the frame. If you can’t distinguish or find it difficult to distinguish between the elements the image will lack impact and the viewer will struggle to understand it. The problem I had and one that many people trying to shoot black and white landscapes have is that whilst in colour the different elements are easy to see. Once converted to black and white, many of the tones of the landscape blend together. What’s needed are ways to separate the elements for the viewer. Here are some ideas to help you.
Shooting successful landscapes in black and white is not quite as easy as it might seem. I have to admit that when I first started photographing landscapes with black and white film, I was so disappointed with the results that I gave up for several years. What I didn’t realise is that I was breaking one simple rule that if I had understood it, would have made life much simpler. Basically, my images lacked separation.
A basic primer on how to take monochrome photos – gotta crawl before you can play ball! Tips include understanding contrast, settings, and how to set up the shot.
“6 Black and White Photography Tips” for Monochrome Enthusiasts from Petapixel
Digital Photography School’s 6 tips for black and white photographers builds upon the information provided by CreativeLive Blog’s tips but with a more in-depth approach, including the prior consideration of what would be an ideal monochrome setting for your photography as well as the more aspirational/motivational tips like “ignore what others are doing” and my personal favorite, “travel.” While the quality of advice such as “travel” could be debatable, the aphorism to ignore others is valuable but only after you know what you are actually doing. Once you have established some idea of what makes a good black and white photograph, you can develop your own techniques towards achieving that end or even experiment with unconventional setups in pursuit of that unique still.
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