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Black and White Photography- The Art of Excellence

Black and White Photography- The Art of Excellence

This fine arts blog is dedicated to an interesting and challenging field of artistic photography- Black and White photography. They enhance emotional substance of the subject make the photo look more artistic. It is considered to be the purest form of photography as the photographer has to rely on composition and form rather than the colors.

Black and White photography can be used on different scenes as it is not required to think about the colors that should look good together and match the amount of light available. This creates an entirely different mindset in terms of how you choose and approach your subject.

History of Black and White photography

Black and white photography has always been the first choice of most photographers. Even when color photography was first introduced, black and white photography was preferred over the color ones as they were of better quality and less expensive to develop. As the quality of color photographs improved, it gradually turned into the first choice for photographers thus declining the popularity of black and white photography.

Today the scenario has changed as we live in a ‘color’ full world where every image we see is vibrant! The quality of developed color photos has improved over the last many decades. With the advancement in the field of camera, the demand for color photograph has increased manifold. From amateur to a pro everyone is running behind color photographs.

All this has resulted in the loss of the art of black and white photography. Manufacturers offer better color film and processing at a low cost, on the other hand it is becoming hard to buy a black and white film!

However, at present, black and white photos are enjoying a revival. Photographers are rediscovering the power and timeless beauty that black and white film can lend to photos.

Tips to improve your Black & White photography

  • Choosing the right Subject

    Not all subjects are appropriate for black and white photography. Some need to be shot in color or else their meaning is lost. The subjects for black-and-white photography might seem limited. It is always recommended to start with a raw subject, such as, rocks, metals, landscapes, still life and everyday scenes.

  • Use of light and shadows

    Use natural light at different times of the day to change plain scenes into something special, or to add a particular mood to the image. A darker image snapped towards the evening time, will seem different if the same image is taken early that morning. Natural light is not to be underestimated when taking black and white photos. It affects everything from the mood of the image, to casting shadows, to texture enhancement.

  • Always use low ISO

    ISO is the indication of the sensitivity of the image sensor. The higher the ISO number, higher is the sensitivity. For Black and white photography it is recommended to use films with ISO rating ranging from 50 to 400. When you use high ISO the noise will become more obvious. Noise in photography is like the “grain” in film, where the film doesn’t become as smooth as you’d wish. The higher your ISO is the more unpleasant dots will show in your photo. Films with higher ISO numbers need less light to form a useful image than films with lower ISO numbers.

  • Shoot in Color

    Many digital cameras give you the options to shoot an image either in color or black and white. Never go for such an option to shoot your black and white photograph. The camera is really capturing color, then converting to black & white. It is recommendable to use computer software to convert a color photo into a black and white photo where you can have some control over it.

Tips to improve Underwater Photography

Tips to improve Underwater Photography

Of all the different types of photographies, underwater photography is probably the most difficult and challenging to practice. Wonderful colors, unusual shapes and challenging conditions make it all the more interesting to try underwater photography. The common techniques used by professional photographers are swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling. Mostly aquatic life such as fishes and corals are the main subject of photography but shipwrecks, submerged cave system and landscapes also attract photographer’s attentions.

 

The peaceful beauty of underwater life is the perfect subject for photography. Underwater photography is challenging as it is very difficult to find and capture the deep blue sea on camera. Understanding the behavior of underwater life is the first step of underwater photography. Few important things like, how close to get to the school of fishes, the depth where coral reefs are found, reaction of underwater life to danger, all these and more form the basis for a code of conduct for underwater photography.

Challenges faced by Photographers during underwater photography

The biggest obstacle faced by underwater photographers is the absence of natural color and light when they in the deep waters. One can get ample amount of natural light while photographing on the surface but it keeps decreasing as you get deeper. At deep levels everything becomes colorless even to naked eyes. This is because the longer wavelengths of sunlight are absorbed by the surrounding water which makes everything appears blue-green in color to naked eyes.

However these problems can be solved by moving close to the subject, not by zooming in but manually moving close to the subject. Also using wide angle lens camera or macro lenses can help in reducing the horizontal loss of color. Another technique is to use flash which helps in restoring the color lost vertically through the water column. It is always recommended that the distance between the photographer and the subject should not exceed 3ft.

Selecting the Right camera for Underwater Photography

 

To get the right pictures it is necessary to get the right camera. There are many unique cameras available which are designed specially to suit the underwater environment. If you intend to improve your underwater photography then it is advisable to select a good quality water proof digital camera.

 

Compact camera and DSLR cameras are the two types of cameras which are highly recommended for underwater photography and are easily available in the market. Though both come with their own pros and cons, having any one of them will surely enhance your underwater photographic experiences.

The main point of difference between a compact camera and DSLR camera is that a DSLR allows you to use a variety of lenses with different focal lengths while a compact camera has one attached lens. On the contrary compact cameras are very light in weight and less complicates thus used more often by amateur photographer. Professional underwater photographers always go for DSLR cameras as it helps to capture high-quality photos.

 

Underwater Photography is an art which gives you a chance to experience something out of the ordinary. There is life brimming just under the surface and to capture it as a memory long after time has passed is something that is the fundamental why underwater photography has increased in practice.

DSLR Photography for beginners

DSLR Photography for beginners

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DSLRs are complex pieces of photographic equipment and it is easy to get lost or fail to take full advantage of their capabilities. Looking beyond the user aids such as scene modes in entry level DSLRs, they are still capable of stunning results in the hands of a competent photographer even if they come in designer colors. .

Scene modes appear helpful but hey apply a one size fits all approach to more complex photographic situations and fail to take full advantage of the camera’s capabilities. Presumably, photographers choose DSLRs so they can produce excellent images under all conditions.

To learn how to cope with the complexity and powerful capabilities of your new DSLR try taking small steps. This means taking plenty of photographs of the same things in your neighborhood. This is how professionals try out new equipment and techniques.

Read the Manual

But not all at once. The aim is to read small sections of the manual, only as they are needed. Only read far enough to read the “Getting Started” or “Quick Start Guide” section. This should be enough to start taking photos and having fun with new camera. As the confidence in the camera builds move on to other sections in the user manual, one at a time.

P Mode

The first step is to leave all the menu settings on default so that the camera is in auto everything mode. Then set the mode dial to P and start shooting. This is a basic automatic exposure mode where the camera decides on the exposure settings and is good place to start for the first pictures. In the picture of the Nikon d3000 below, the P mode is grouped by the line on the mode dial with the serious photography modes.

This allows practice with all the other basic operations of taking a digital photograph and using it on the computer and printing it. The P mode is like training wheels on a bicycle, handy when learning, but they do prevent the user from using the device to its full capabilities.

Use The Viewfinder

When photographers use the viewfinder they are holding the cameras properly, minimizing the possibility of camera shake. Live view is largely a marketing gimmick designed to appeal to photographers graduating from cameras lacking a good optical viewfinder. Live view is useful when using a tripod, but for hand held shots use the viewfinder.

Exposure Compensation

This is a good first step in taking control of the DSLR as it allows finer tuning of the camera’s suggested exposure settings. Exposure Compensation is useful when lighting conditions become a bit more complex.

Using the EXIF Data

EXIF data is a marvelous feature of all digital cameras; they keep the shooting notes for photographers. Novice photographers often have no idea what shutter speed or aperture to use. Review the photographs made using the P mode, noting the settings the camera chose, and see the resultant picture. This gives a good starting point for photographers choosing these settings.

Aperture Priority

The most popular exposure mode amongst advanced photographers is Aperture priority, usually indicated by A or Av on the mode dial. Here the photographer sets the lens aperture to suit their Depth of Field needs and the camera decides the appropriate shutter speed.

Shutter Speed Priority

This is for capturing moving subjects, usually T or Tv. The photographer sets the shutter speed to suit the speed of the subject and the camera sets the lens aperture for a good exposure.

ISO

This is the sensitivity of the cameras to light. Higher the sensitivity is good for lower light conditions but image noise increases as the ISO increases. Set it to the lowest value or use the Auto ISO function which only raises it when low light conditions require more cameras sensitivity

Only the Start

DSLRs are incredibly powerful photographic tools and these first steps are long way from complete mastery of the digital camera. The main aim in any long-term project is to break down into small manageable steps. Suite 101 are continually adding more photography Feature Articles for photographers ranging from novice to expert.