Black and white was once the only means we had to communicate, photographically. That was long before most of us got involved with it. But for some of us, B&W is how we started off in photography, and how we saw our images in print. But since the beginning of photography, black and white has been a very romantic medium. That romance continues to this day, with black and white easier and simpler to do than ever. And yet, for some, it’s just as complicated and difficult as ever. Perhaps this will give you some ideas to advance your black and white photography.
Brian Smith is a Sony Artisan, and a world-famous portrait photographer. His client list includes many celebrities and major players in the entertainment industry, and he is a recipient of the Pultizer Prize. For the past thirty years, Brian has been in the editorial and advertising photography industry, after having a photo make it into LIFE magazine at the age of 20.
Over the last 15 years, I have worked as a photographer on assignment in over 60 countries, ranging from drug stories in the Horn of Africa to climbing expeditions in the Himalayas. My clients have mostly been magazines, ranging from all the National Geographic publications, to Esquire, Outside, Men's Journal, Stern, GEO and many others, plus a host of commercial clients. Seeing the world with a camera—and sometimes a pen—as a passport to open concealed doors and even hidden worlds can be a magical—often wild—ride.
While the world of assignment photography has changed in the last decade, pushing photographers like me to acquire new tools like video and audio, many of the tricks for making memorable images haven't changed.
Here are five simple tricks I recommend to students when teaching workshops, whether in Africa or in my backyard of Colorado.
You can go to school, learn concepts and theories, and do very well as a student. But there are some things that you won't learn in school about being a photographer and a creative. Because of this, you'll most often be learning as you go, and trying to adapt to the ever changing environment.
We talked to nine creative professionals about what they learned.
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