Portraits – B&W

Black and White portraits are often the most intriguing. This however will make greater demands on composition.

Black and White photos have greater potential for contrast and with this potential, the composition can in monochrome print allow the viewer to see the colors and hues which they fancy. Several photographers I know have black and white photos I have seen and when some time later we talked about them, I described them in color. They looked at me confused and verified that we were talking about the same photo by discussing the features of the photo’s subject and elements. Seeing a black and white photo in color is not a gauge on whether the photo is properly composed, but something which viewers may experience where exposure and composition are well done.

One of my favorite fall shots is from above the subject as they are seated on a thick grassy lawn, looking up toward the camera which uses the grass and fall colored leaves as a background!

However, since we are on the topic of black and white photos, how can we capture this same stunning color composition in black and white?

First, it is important to have the best clarity possible and this is achieved with a high-end lens. If you are using a consumer level camera which cannot alternate lenses, do not worry, it should do well for you.

Second, work diligently to make sure the focus is absolutely set on the eyes. If there is one thing that must be in total focus it must be the eyes.

Third, some editing may be done to a black and white photo to add color. \"Bird-Owl This photo illustration is a perfect example; digitally signed by Chris D. Jones, this photo draws from the contrast of the black and white giving definition to the feathers, the clarity is displayed in the eye and draws your attention with the iris color.

Enjoy!

Getting The Most Out Of Your Camera – Part 2

Call me “Obsessive Compulsive” if you wish, but shooting without a flash has taught me so much about the “ins” and “outs” of my camera that I cannot neglect its value. This education is worth more than any other for which I could have paid or sat under another photographer’s instruction. These things are what I wish to give you by inspiration as we continue to learn together how to better capture the moments in time which we live and see.

I do apologize that all of my information bits are based around Canon equipment, but I have not yet be awarded with the donations of Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus and Sony equipment to learn and write about. Hint, hint. No, I only wrote that in jest! I would be humbled to receive such gifts, but I am not sincerely asking for them. I would be truly embarrassed to do so.

In the post-production process of photo editing within “Canon Utilities Software”; changing a picture from black & white (monochrome) to color is the final last step. If the colors do not come out in an acceptable shade, I often will increase contrast and lower saturation. If this look does not apply to the photo, vibrancy and hue are possibilities within moderation.

All of these terms and solutions are based on Canon equipment and software leaving a large number of readers in the dark, I apologize. This is not intended to be a sales pitch for Canon, even though it turns out to be quite a good one. All other brands will want to bring you the same or greater options for editing photos although they may not call them by the same names.

If you are interested in finding the equivalent adjustments and terms that I have listed for Canon in you own brand, please pass them along to me and I will be more than happy to share these helps with the rest of the readers.

Happy low-light photography shots!

Getting The Most Out Of Your Camera

Have you ever found yourself in a situation and wishing you had a hot shoe flash with you? Well being the biggest “anti-flash fan” you know of (I’m just kidding! I’m not “anti-flash”. My concern and talking point is a caution against built-in flashes.) I have some things for you to look into if you are interested in getting just a little bit more out of your camera’s performance.

Having used my equipment in a lot of situations with varied amounts of lighting, I became very dissatisfied with blurry photos. So, in an effort to understand more about the performance of my camera and lenses, I began searching for methods of shooting without a flash and blur.

As I began my search I discovered that when shooting black & white (monochrome) pictures, my camera was more sensitive in lower lighted areas giving me the capability to shoot with a faster shutter speed.

At the same time, I did not want to only shooting black & white (monochrome) photos in low light, so how can I get around this problem? Some cameras come with editing software. Canon provides “Canon Utilities Software” with their SLR cameras, so there may be comparable software with other camera brands. In “Canon Utilities Software” post-exposure changes are possible by reading the EXIF data from the photo and altering the information in a new file temporarily stored in a separate data file.

However, before I prattle too far afield of my given topic, my point of shooting black & white (monochrome) photos to avoid needing to add light; the picture style can be changed in the editing process of “Canon Utilities Software”. What this mean is black & white (monochrome) shots can be change into color shots!

The camera takes the information of colors with each black & white (monochrome) shot, however not as it would when shooting in color. Do not be surprised when changing picture styles that the color is not as vibrant as when shooting in other pictures styles.

More on picture styles and black & white shooting in Part 2.