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.
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.
Creating visual depth isn’t something that comes to mind right away when photographing. We’re usually concentrating on getting a proper exposure and getting our subject in focus. Even when we’re composing, we’re often thinking about ‘rules of thirds’ or some other compositional idea. Yet, visual depth is what is often lacking in a photograph—especially a scenic or landscape image. If you want your pictures to have more impact, start paying attention to how you can suggest depth in your photo. Remember that you are taking a three-dimensional world, and distilling it into two dimensions in the final image, and you don’t want that image to appear flat. There are several things you can do to put the suggestion of depth into your images.
Take a look at the super-cool landscape photo above. How do you think it was shot? The scene was photographed by photographer Adam Taylor, and we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pick his brain on how he achieved the final result.
For even more education, you can check out the rest of our "How I Got the Shot" series of blog posts.
The Golden Hour is one of the most wonderful times to shoot photos using only natural light. But there is quite a bit that goes into photos than just lighting: there is composition, exposure, and having an overall vision that you want for your end result.
The photo above was shot during the Blue Hour: the period of time right after the Golden Hour, and also known as, "Dusk." Peter Tellone shot this photo. Here's how:
Prices, specifications, and images are subject to change without notice. Not responsible for typographical or illustrative errors. Manufacturer rebates, terms, conditions, and expiration dates are subject to manufacturers printed forms