The process of photography was invented in the 1820s
, depending on what you define as photography. Some trace it as far back as 1816, when the process that would eventually become photography was first being experimented with.
These days, black and white photography is an artistic choice. Much like any art form, it has evolved with the times.
While nobody can become an expert photographer overnight, we can offer you some advice to help get you started. We'll go over them in more detail in the paragraphs below.
1. Study Black and White Film and Photography
Emotion is tied to color in photography, and the same is true film and story. Watch a few movies, and pay attention to how much the weather is tied to the plot.
Ever wonder why so many scary stories start on 'a dark and stormy night?' It's because of the atmosphere. The scene is already dreary and unsettling, so we don't expect things to go well from here.
The same goes with black and white film. They don't have colors, so they have to use various amounts of light to convey mood and control the scene.
Pay attention to how they do it, and you may find it easier to convey mood in your own art.
2. Understand Contrast and Flat Light
Contrast and flat light are considered opposites in black and white photography. Flat lighting is a type of photography that aims to minimize the amount of shadows
when taking a picture.
Flat light is often used for portrait shots because it tends to be more flattering.
Contrast, meanwhile, attempts to create dark shadows and bright light in the same picture. That way, the viewer's attention is drawn to the stark difference between the two.
Bright backgrounds are often used to emphasize darker objects and vice versa.
3. Understand Exposure
Exposure is determined a few different functions of the camera. These are aperture, shutter speed, and ISO speed.
The aperture is the pieces in front of the lens that open to take pictures. The aperture setting controls how wide it opens.
The aperture controls depth of field in a shot. A wide aperture creates a shallow depth, which means that the objects closer to you will be less blurry than distant objects. This is often used when photographers want to place emphasis on the foreground.
A narrow aperture creates more depth of field, which is often used for landscape shots.
The shutter speed controls how long the aperture stays open, which determines how fast the picture is taken. Slow shutter speeds can create blurry images, so they're often used to show movement.
Faster shutter speeds are better at conveying a moment in time. For instance, if you want to show a balloon the moment it pops, use a fast shutter speed.
ISO controls how much the shot is affected by light. A low ISO will create a normal, clear image. A high ISO is usually only useful if you want your picture to have a grainy appearance like an old-fashioned photograph would.
Tricks of the Trade in Black and White Photography
Photography of any kind can be difficult to master, and black and white photography is no exception. The good news is that there is some advice out there to make things easier.
We've given just a few tips above, but there are plenty more out there. We encourage you to do more research on your own if you're interested.
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