"A Camera never took a great picture the same way that a typewriter never wrote a great novel " Peter Adams
Black and White Photography : how does one master it?
A black and white photo is created even before the shot. We do not decide after taking a picture to keep it in color or convert it to black and white.
To do this, it is necessary to learn to see the world in black and white. Not obvious when the human eye naturally sees colors!
Here are some tips to achieve this:
- Choose your subject: if many scenes lend themselves to black and white photography, there are some surefire things to make your shots are striking. Textures such as wood, stone, wrinkled skin, stand out better in black and white than in color. Similarly, a repetitive decor with a pattern, lines or other shapes, will lend itself more to black and white,
- Use light and contrast: without colors, it's harder to guide the viewer's eye. You have to pay particular attention to the composition of your photo and play on the lights and shadows created to bring out all the possible shades of gray. Backlight becomes your ally!
- Take photos on a cloudy day: you might think that the light is less present and the contrasts are less blunt, but it's the perfect time to take black and white photos. The reflections just after the rain are increased and the black and white photos find a new intensity.
It is possible to shoot in black and white directly, as it is easier to see the world without colors through the lens of a camera. To do this, use the "monochrome" mode of your digital SLR. By increasing the contrast and adjusting the exposure (overexposing or underexposing the photo), black and white will become natural as you practice it.
In all cases, it is better to shoot in RAW. Whether shooting in color or in black and white, this format retains all the colors of the photographed scene. Why ? To make photo editing easier! Post-processing, is not only the use of the tool "desaturation" in Lightroom or Photoshop, it is especially the use of the Layer Mixer to obtain a photo in contrasts and in nuances.
Well, now that you know all this, let's get down to the practice! Several scenes and subjects lend themselves particularly to black & white:
- Architecture: nothing better to find different shapes, textures and patterns. Contrasts stand out naturally in the interstices of stones, the cobblestones of a street or the rose window of a church,
- The portrait photo: exercise alone, the portrait photo lends itself well to black and white. It brings out the eyes and face of a person,
- Landscape photography: to bring out the lines and shapes of a mountain, clouds in the sky or waves, black and white is the solution,
- Closeup / detail: be it the petals of a flower, the circles of a tree trunk or the mosaic of a wall, black and white again will bring out the details intensely.
There is only one solution to progress in black and white: practice! So to your cameras!
Photo Lenses : Which One to Choose ?
At the beginning of your photo lessons, you will certainly learn how to use depth of field, change the shutter speed, change the white balance, all to make beautiful photos. Just don't forget that it's what you are photographing that counts!
After choosing the camera, the choice of the photo lens is essential. It must be done according to your Vision. Portrait, landscape photo or animal photo?
Two elements are to be taken into account in the choice of optics: The Focal Length and the Maximum Aperture. But Before we get deeper into this let's take a quick look at the basic lenses out there.
Let's Focus on the most used types of lenses :
- Standard Lense : As you might have guessed, a Standard Lense will most closely approximate what you see naturally. A Standard Lense will have a Focal Length anywhere Between 35mm and 85mm . This is ideal for Portraits and day to day shots where the Photograph should closely resemble what the Human Eye see's.
- Wide-Angle Lense : What we see through the View finder is Exaggerated, that is to say, a distortion on what the Eye would normally see. Anything under 25mm is considered to be a Wide Angle Lesne. These are great for confined spaces where you need more information in the photo but have less space, but also a great choice for landscape Photography because of their shallow depth of field.
- Telephoto Lense : The Telephoto Lense is the best friend of the Wildlife photographer as this allows a Close up of the subject without disturbing it. Telephoto Lenses are those with a Focal Length above 70mm.
The more you know the less you know, so questions will beget more questions! Let's take a quick look at the difference between Zoom and Fixed lenses knowing that each has it's pro and con however a beginner should definitely buy a Zoom lense as they will have more options!
The choice of a Stabilized Lense can be made but it is not mandatory for three reasons:
- If you use a tripod, the stabilization will be done on its own
- Many Lenses already have their own Stabilization systems.
- The stabilizer does only prevents camera shake (when you move), it will not prevent a motion blur if your subject goes too fast.
As for the brand to choose, generally one favors the brand of its Camera maker. However, some brands offer the same quality at lower cost.
A tip: Lens technology does not really evolve contrary to what brands would like you think. Going to a second hand market can be a good solution to buying the lense of your dreams with a 20 to 40% discount! Just make sure it's not scratched!
Photography Blogs : The Photographers you need to know about!
Taking a picture is telling a story. When you are first beginning it can be very useful to follow some of the masters in order to get some inspiration and ideas so here are some Photo Blogs that should be worth a look!
Let's begin our journey with Photographers that take us places!
With a look, a smile or the intensity of a landscape, Steve McCurry takes us to the end of the world. The award-winning artist is the author of the famous photo "Young Afghan Girl". But it's all his work that deserves to be discovered.
In another style, the new generation is not far behind in artistry. Théo Gosselin, a 26-year-old , photographs his close-ups in authentic landscapes at the end of a road trip. The landscape photo reveals clichés full of poetry.
What about the photos of everyday life?
One can easily take inspiration from so-called "lifestyle" social photographers. To capture the most important moments of life or to simply share a moment with the family, Agnès Colombo is the person to contact and follow. Bubbly and fun, she seeks a real exchange with her subjects and always gets it!
Another lifestyle photographer seeking authenticity, Cécile Creiche has been named one of the top 4 best wedding photographers. She likes photos taken on the spot, far from the clichés of traditional weddings. The result is fresh and natural - an inspiration to many beginners and pro's alike!
How to Master Art Photography?
Today Photography is finally within everyone's reach!
This is evidenced by all the devices we have at our disposal. Including our phones! But does this allow everyone to master the art of photography?
A mere amateur, who has just bought a beautiful camera can he also say something through his pictures? A deep message? An artistic vision? An idea?
It depends first (obviously) on his own artistic taste, which cannot be copied, but also on his technical background and knowledge as a photographer.
To arrive at this perfect compromise, it seems necessary to look first at the work of the greatest art photographers such Robert Doisneau, Robert Capa, Arnold Newman and Ansel Adams! What a treat!
The Technical side of Photography : The tips you have to know!
In order to get started in this or in that movement of photography, it will first be necessary to master some photo techniques!
Do you feel like you've mastered managing the focus because your smartphone does it in a simple touch on your screen?
Or maybe the white balance because ... your smartphone does it for you ?! I know you don't! Or else you wouldn't be here eager to learn and get better - the first step towards mastery!
As you can imagine, to learn to take beautiful shots with a camera, you will need time to study your instrument. Why not take a photography course?!
Thanks to a photography teacher, here are some of the techniques that you can hope to assimilate:
The portrait photo,
The landscape picture,
The Wildlife photo,
- Black and White photos sometimes have more intensity and focus on the subject thus we must pay attention to the slightest details: lights, contrasts, shapes, patterns - in order to make an intense shot in black and white really work . A tip: Architecture lends itself particularly well to this medium!
- The Lense of the photographer must be chosen according to two main criteria: the focal length and the maximum aperture. Of course, by definition, it is also in relation to the favorite concepts of the artist.
- There are many photo blogs on the web brimming with insight ! Make sure to use them! We found inspiration with Steve McCurry and his penchant for Travel photography; The love for Nature and Wildlife with Jim Brandenburg and the everyday life with Cécile Creiche. There is so much more out there so go find something great!