A review of my “monograph weekends”
After a full week of posting color images, I reserve weekends for the classic medium, sort of going back to the roots of photography – the world of black and white. I have been doing this for many weekends now and have racked up a sizeable number of postings on black and white photography which include tips, guides, pointers, techniques and finding inspiration. Let me quickly give a recap on some of them:
Shoot in color then convert to black and white later during editing. The digital camera can capture 16 million colors. There are only 254 shades of grey plus pure black and pure white. Imagine how much information you lose if you shoot directly in black and white. Besides, you have the option to revert to the color original if during editing the image it does not work well in black and white. Which leads us to the next point.
Not all subjects look good in black and white. A splendid sunrise or sunset is best presented in its colorful glory. But there are landscape scenes that look great in monochrome especially if visual design elements are present. Portraits, architecture, still life, abstracts, and even events like weddings are suited for black and white. It is the preferred medium for fine art photography.
Low key and high key are lighting techniques that add drama and impact to black and white images. Low key is when the subject is enveloped in darkness with only key features highlighted by a single light source. High key is when the subject is bathed in white soft light, usually from multiple light sources. This technique is used in commercial and advertising photography and done with studio lighting set-up.
Learn to see in black and white. In the absence of color, what would attract the eyes? These are the visual elements of design: lines, shapes, patterns and textures. Learning to see in black and white is knowing the play, fall and direction of light because it is light which makes visible and creates those visual elements plus shades, shadows, silhouettes and outlines. Photography is all about light – how fast it enters the camera and how large the amount of light allowed to make an image imprint on the film or sensor.
Know their meanings. Color psychology tells us that white stands for purity, perfection, innocence, wholeness and completion. Black represents the hidden, secretive and the unknown. But it is positively identified in the context of protection, comfort, strength, formality, dignity and sophistication. Learn to use black and white well in your images to convey your message.
There you go folks, some samples of my many monochrome postings. However, there are lots of others. To have a complete look at all previous posts and images on this topic, just click on these links – Black & White or Monographs. They are also entries in the Categories section at the sidebar. Have a wonderful monograph weekend!