Black & White
10/1/15 – 10/31/15
BLACK & WHITE TIPS
Tip 1: Contrast, Contrast, Contrast
Because black-and-white photographs by definition lack color, their emotional impact is derived from the contrast in the images, both in terms of the tonality of the photo and the interplay between objects. Instead of a limitless palette of colors, photographers have a limited range of gray tones to work with. This limitation requires a different type of composition. Subjects should be chosen for the interplay of their tones off that of other elements in the photo, with high contrast areas (a light area near a dark area) giving a feeling of separation and space, while similar tones grouped together have a feeling of connectedness.
Lenses like the Tamron SP 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 Di VC USD lens is perfect for black-and-white photography because the lens is built with incredible optical features for sharp, accurate images, even with high-contrast scenes. The SP 24-70 has three Low Dispersion elements, three aspheric elements, Extra Refractive Index elements and an optical design that creates sharp and accurate images across the full area of the lens.
It takes a different mindset for most photographers to shoot black-and-white photos as a result. Vibrant red leaves of fall that pop against a bright sky may end up instead as similar shades of gray alongside each other, for example. That’s why it’s a good idea to go out and purposefully compose your images for viewing as black-and-white photos, rather than just taking a color photograph and removing the saturation. A good black-and-white photograph starts off life as a photograph with a different feeling than a good color photo.
Tip 2: Master Exposure
Because there’s such a limited range of tones to work with, black-and-white photography relies on a skilled use of exposure. Underexpose your images and you lose detail in the shadows, overexpose and there’s no detail in your highlights. This might not be such a big deal with color photography, since the various colors in the image will often make up for any clipped highlights or shadows.
However, with black-and-white photography it’s essential to get your exposure right and to manipulate your exposure to bring out things in your photograph. Sometimes getting your exposure right is about knowing when to tweak it by purposefully under- or overexposing. To give your subjects an ethereal look, you could overexpose the image a touch, blowing out some of the detail of their skin and making them look smooth and angelic, for example. Or if you want to really bring out the details and texture of a subject’s face, underexpose a bit to bring out all of their features.
The Tamron SP 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 Di VC USD is a great tool for photographers to nail the exposure because the specially designed optics transmit light with incredibly low amounts of flaring, chromatic aberration and distortion typically found in zoom lenses.