Seeing In Black & White
Create striking monochromatic images from your color digital photos
Black-and-white images always have held a special place in photography. Although color photographs comprise the majority of the images that are created and printed, a monochromatic print produces a much different reaction than does a color version of the same scene.
The Critical Adjustment: Levels & Black
When the darkest and brightest parts of a photo are adjusted properly, the image will look and print better
Despite the special features of today's digital cameras, many photographers have found the results from camera to print disappointing. Certainly, it's essential to calibrate your monitor and run tests with your printer, but that's not enough if the blacks of a photo aren't set correctly. I've seen poor prints from photographers puzzled by the fact that they did all the necessary calibration and "matched" the monitor, and still had lackluster results. I've even been surprised to find this problem from top pros who are now shooting with digital cameras.
Trade Tricks: Got A Light?
Control contrast and color with your built-in flash
Although the best light of the day is often that of early morning or late afternoon, the duration of such light is very short. More often than not, you're shooting the majority of your images during midday when the light is harsh and contrasty. This is easily evident in portraits where strong shadows under hat brims appear. One of the best tools for making the most of midday lighting may already be in your camera: the built-in or auxiliary flash.
Trade Tricks: The Selective Focus Technique
A key photographic technique to distinguish your subject from its surroundings
One of the challenges we face as photographers is making the subject stand out from its surroundings. An effective way to do this is to use the selective focus technique, which allows us to choose one part of the image to be sharp and in focus while making the rest out of focus. It's the opposite of getting a lot of depth of field. While this technique lets the viewer know what's important in the photo, it's also a way to make interesting compositions that can't be duplicated any other way.