Thursday, December 29, 2011

7 Tips For Great Low Angle Shots

Low angle shots give us a different view on the world. Most of our lives are spent well above ground level and by the time we are teenagers we rarely spend much time down low any more. Yet there is a whole world down there!! Plus the forced perspective brings a boring, everyday scene into new light when done right. So what are some tips on taking great low angle shots?

Copyright By Socceraholic

Ignore Your Viewfinder

The first step in low angle is accepting you will not be able to look through your viewfinder most of the time. A lot of shots require the camera in such an angle that only the smallest of frogs could take a peek. If your camera has a flipout view screen, you will be thanking your lucky stars. If not, get used to having to go by sense of feel on this one.

Learn Your Angle

Low angle shots work best with a wider lens. Something in the 10-22mm range for 1.6 crop factor cameras works quite well. Fisheye lenses can also be handy. This is not to say a zoom doesn’t do the job if you can lay on your belly and frame things. It is just much harder to crop the image right in the filed of view that it will be with a wider zoom. Although three is no reason you can’t have it both ways and opt for something like a 18-200mm zoom which will allow for a lot of room to play.

Understand Aperture and Depth Of Field

A low angle shot is going to have objects near and far. That is part of its appeal, being able to show the perspective by including foreground objects. This means you will need to understand your camera and lens combination’s sweet spot for aperture. Cranking the f-stop up as high as it will go does not insure perfect depth of of field front to back. Each lens has positive and negative aspects this approach and it is best to learn where your lens performs best, then use that setting (via a Aperture Priority mode). Even better, some cameras have a Depth Of Field mode, which will do its darndest to hold as much of the image in focus as it can, by correlating both aperture and focus points.

Keep It All Level

When you bring the camera close to the ground or other low object, take an extra second to insure your camera is level. This will save time in front of the computer realigning everything. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but if you want to use this technique again and again, it’s best to learn leveling early. It can be a huge time saver in the long run.
The good news is, if you can’t get it perfect, there always is the computer to make it nice and level. I simply prefer to get it right in the camera the first time around, even if it means a lot of trial and error to learn.

Preventing Blown Out Skies

It may be a sunny day and all your shots are coming out well. A nice balance of light and the exposure seems to be spot on…until you go for a low shot. The foreground is dark and the sky is not that well defined. What’s happening?
If your low angle shot is including a lot of sky, and it is a bright day, you will need to compensate or, possibly, accept the limits of the scene in front of you. Shooting up and near the sun will make your camera squint with all its might, just like you would if you were laying on the ground looking partially into the sun.
To compensate, take a pick between the dark and the light and go for it. If you want a lot of sky or cloud to be defined, underexpose. If the foreground is too precious to you to let go, overexpose and accept that the sky will be blown out. But at least you can capture the aspect that is most important to you.

Positioning Objects In The Frame

Imagine the scene from down low before taking the shot. Just like eye level photographs, frame the scene to include something of interest. Maybe it’s just a rock, or an apple or anything. This is a chance to make the mundane appear huge by perspective. Because of the angle, nearby objects will be exaggerated in their size. Play around with it.

Shoot, Review, Repeat

This is where digital is a boon to the photographer. While I’m not a fan of reviewing every shot on a camera’s view screen, learning from your mistakes has never been easier than with the digital revolution. Use it! Take a shot and see what can be changed, either with exposure or composition, and try, try again until the shot you want is captured.
Just don’t forget to delete the dozens of attempts that failed before you get home to download.

Low angle photography can be a fun way to spice things up in your picture taking world. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see the world from another point of view!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Black & White

Photography is about telling a story thru a still image albeit thru color or B&W. With color one can play around with different primers or secunders to show emotion, eg red for love or anger, even death. It's a bit more difficult to transmit that in B&W. Hence one need to understand about the effect of the 10 zones/tones (first introduced by Ansell Adams) to describe the story to viewers behind the shot. On top of being nostalgic in value.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pangkor Island

Saya telah berjaya merakamkan beberapa gambar menarik semasa bercuti ke Pulau Pangkor bersama keluarga pada 6 dan 7 Mac 2011. Ini adalah gambar yang sempat saya rakamkan semasa dalam perjalanan menuju ke restoran untuk menikmati makan malam. Saya berasa sangat bertuah kerana dapat menikmati pemandangan matahari terbenam yang sungguh mempersonakan.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wedding Photography (Part 3)

Image by Deann Barrera

Work with what you are given

You can prepare for everything and every eventuality for a wedding, but the one thing you can’t control is the weather.

The optimum conditions for a wedding shoot is a slightly overcast day; producing bright, yet even light, which will not only flatter your couple and other subjects but allow you to record as much ambient light as possible, thus lowering ISO and resulting in sharper, cleaner frames. However, as controlling the weather is out of your hands, wedding photographers must learn to adapt to shoot in any environment.

Sunny Day

Although the guests will adore a bright blue sky and hot sunny day, the photographer may secretly be praying for cloud cover. If you are confronted with a harshly lit day, bear in mind the best light will come in the morning and evening, so it could be a good idea to set off even earlier to get the bridal prep and location images in good light and if possible leave some of the romantic couple portraits until the sun lowers in the sky.

There are a few other tricks one can also use to counteract the harsh light,  for starters move in closer to your subject, focus on details and if you can shade the subject in some way this will help to avoid shadows. Don’t be afraid to head in doors and position the couple next to a clean and ideally – veiled – window for softened light and even consider the use of a polarizing filter to cut out reflections and reduce contrast or  flash to fill in the shadows when frames are backlight.

Furthermore, you can actually create some emotive silhouettes when shooting into the sun, simply position the couple between you and the sun so they appear in completely in shadow, this may mean that you need to move lower or to the side to get the best position. Another trick is to have the sun behind you and have the couple walk away hand in hand – perfectly lit. Remember to set a white balance according to the light conditions, or even bet learn to set it manually for completely accuracy and to recover details in a blown-out white dress when this is the focus of your frame underexpose the image by a stop or two.

Image by Liliana

Rainy Day

If it rains on your wedding day it is said to be lucky, but try telling that to a disappointed bride. As with harsh sun, there are a few ways around the rain and after a downpour it can even lend itself for naturally creating saturated colours and magnify details, which can be teased to greater effect with a polarizer – so as soon as there is a break in the shower grab your couple and quickly get those frames in the bag.

This is where your pre-shoot recce pays off, as hopefully before the shoot you visited the venue and identified places where you could photography romantic portraits and the all important group shots should this situation arise. Look for large windows indoors to position your couple next to and capture some evenly lit frames.

Use a flash for indoor captures, employing a diffuser to soften the harshness of the beam and also incorporate some if the ambient light. Finally if you do shoot outdoors in the rain, whilst your couple are positioned under the safety of a porch for example, use a raincover or at the least a plastic carrier bag, to protect your camera and lens and if it’s windy utilise a tripod ideally pulled down with your camera bag or a bag full of rock for extra stability. You could also ask a willing guest to hold the reflector and bounce any available light onto the couple for that extra degree of improvement.

Image by Anna Jarske
Snowy Day

Working in snowy conditions and cold temperatures will quickly deplete your camera and flash batteries so make sure you pack a few fully-charged spares and keep them as close to your body when not in use.

Whilst a snow-dappled churchyard will undoubtedly make for a beautiful setting, getting the right exposure can be a nightmare; underexpose and you’ll have a grey canvas, overexpose and you’ll lose those all important details. Take a few trial shots to correctly identify what settings work using the histogram for guidance, or bracket exposures.

Always set your white balance manually before you start and it is advisable to shoot in RAW if your camera allows it as this will provide you with more scope for adjustment at the post-production stage. When you and the couple are finished shooting outdoors, have a second camera already waiting for you indoors as the one you have just been using will need to be left in a safe area by the entrance – gradually being moved into the building in stages to allow it to warm up slowly to avoid condensation.

Wedding Photography (Part 2)

Image by Pelipe

To truly master photography, not just the wedding genre, you will need to learn how light affects everything. Invest time in reading, training and experience to perfect techniques as on the day of the shoot you won’t have time to stop and think about what settings you need – you’ll need to understand the basic principles as well as the set up of your DSLR like the back of your hand.

Not only will the subject’s grow impatient but you could find yourself missing those all important ‘moments’ because you were too busy fiddling around in the settings menu.

Backing Up

If you have time and the equipment on hand – back up your images onto a storage device, laptop or use built in wi-fi technology or a wi-fi card (such as the Eye-Fi memory card) to beam the images to your desktop. Whatever you do don’t format the cards until you have edited your frames and ensured everything is securely backed up across a handful of hard drives.

To limit the risk of losing files or shooting on a corrupt card on the day, take several medium capacity (2-8 GB) cards, perhaps even marking each for relevant parts of the day, for example: bridal prep, ceremony, reception and evening.

Your style and manner

Rather than be a jack of all trades it is advisable and perhaps even more lucrative to try and carve out a recognisable style and niche that shows what you are not only capable of but also enjoy doing. If your work is good and your style attractive, couples want to book you for their wedding day. You may need to alter this slightly as fashions change but always stick to what you enjoy creating and shoot in a style and manner that suits you.

Be up front about your style and your manner when the client books, but to make that sale you may also want to consider being flexible if the couple wants something which is outside your normal ‘remit’. Have everything you are providing the couple down in writing before the big day, set a fee with payments guidelines and deadlines – never forget this is a business transaction.

On the day be unobtrusive – this is their wedding – you are just there to record it and not ruin it. There are millions of wedding photographers out there but the ones who are really successful preach about the importance of politeness and respect. Yes be assertive and you will need to be as wedding photography is one of the most stressful jobs know to man, but do it with manners.

Remember the little things

As well as capturing the important stages of the day such as: bride and groom preparation, the ceremony, romantic portraits, candids, group shots, speeches and the first dance, you should use any time between these events to record the smaller – yet hugely significant details; in essence – anything the bride and groom have spent time and money on choosing for their big day.

On your hit list should be: bridal accessories (such as jewellery, shoes, bouquets, bags, headwear and even underwear), table decorations, the cake, flowers, party favours, the seating plan, place settings, and even the bows tied to the seats used at the ceremony and reception venues. For creating a soft effect use a wide aperture such as f4 or 5.6 and crop in close using a fast lens.

Post production

As soon as you get back to your office, load the images straight into your computer and back them up on to the computer’s hard drive as well as several other portable external hard drives and online storage sites.

Using an editing suit such as Photoshop, Lightroom or one of the other thousand options available,  delete any images which don’t meet the grade whether that be because they are out of focus, blurred, incorrectly exposed – beyond redemption, the subject is pulling an unattractive face or has their eyes shut etc. Next begin cleaning the image, tweaking exposure, brightness and contrast and/or adding filters you may like to use.

It is possible to run edits on multiple images at once, so check your software’s manual for advice. Load the final edit to an online library at low resolution for the couple to choose their favourites. With decision made make albums and send the couple the proofs. Administer any changes and then send the result off to the suppliers, which can then be returned to you or straight to your client. Most photographers estimate that after the wedding, the couple should receive their album within four to six weeks, however this ultimately depends on the volume of customers the photographer has, how quickly the suppliers can turn around products and how long the couple take to decide which frames they want.


Wedding photography is hugely demanding mentally and physically, and it may be likely that you could end up working 12 hours without a break. Try to take five minutes when you can and get a soft drink to recover. Pack a few cereal or power bars and even a small tub of pasta to see you through the lulls as its unlikely you’ll get fed.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wedding Photography (Part 1)

Image by Sean Molin

One of the most important steps a wedding photographer can do before a wedding is prepare themselves for all eventualities. Firstly this means meeting with the bride and groom and setting in concrete what it is the couple want and don’t want so there can be no confusion down the line; this will also be the time to establish a fee and contract with the clients.

Next you should visit the ceremonial venue and reception venue a week or two ahead of time to mentally place where the romantic portraits and group shots can be taken. Take into consideration where the light will be coming from at the time of day you’ll be shooting  (hence why you don’t want to do a reconnaissance mission too far ahead of time) and also have a contingency plan if the area doesn’t work for whatever reason, as well as having an indoor backup if it rains.

The day before the wedding, mentally run through everything the couple wants as well as any ideas you envisaged during your pre-shoot scout. Fully charge the camera and flash gun batteries and format memory cards. Insert these into your equipment the night before and take a few test shots to ensure everything is working as it should be. Prime your camera with the settings you expect to use at your first shoot – which will most likely be the bridal preparation.

Kit Considerations

Although you’ll want to take a range of accessories for every eventuality it is a good idea to travel light. The minimum a photographer should pack in a medium size camera backpack is: a favourite DSLR and back up DSLR, a flash gun with diffuser, a reflector, several memory cards each holding a capacity of around 2-8GB, lens cloth, raincover or carry bag to protect your camera in the rain and a lightweight tripod. If you have the room, strength and skills you may also want to take a selection of lighting equipment, filters, a laptop, pocket wizards, remote controls and props.

Lens Choices
In terms of lenses there are three types that we would suggest are essential for a wedding, but if you are doing this as a  favour for a friend or for your own portfolio then you’ll be able to get by using one or two zooms that cover a wide focal range – for example 18-200mm would be ideal. However if you are looking to exert a more professional edge you should probably invest in a wide-angle lens for the group and location shots – ideally something like a 16-80mm zoom lens will be perfect and covers a range of bases.

It’s a good idea to invest in a prime lens for portraits and images of all the smaller yet hugely significant items such as: the rings, party favours, flowers, bridal accessories etc – so a 35mm, 50mm or 80mm would be ideal. Finally a healthy telephoto zoom lens will allow you to capture those spontaneous ‘moments’ that people treasure because they show the subject as being ‘real’ . Using a telephoto such as 55-200mm will allow the photographer to ‘snipe’ shots from a distance without being detected, thus the subjects are totally relaxed and the result will be completely natural.

Camera Settings 

There are no hard and fast rules to adopt in terms of learning what aperture/shutter speed combination to use for which occasion, as it will largely depend on what quality and quantity of light is available at that time, as well as focusing more on the ‘moment’ rather than getting the right technique.

However as a guide, many photographers generally prefer to use some of the following apertures as a rule of thumb, but you shouldn’t be afraid to try something different if it suits the style and purpose of what you want to achieve.

Church and indoor ceremonial establishments can tend to lack enough natural light and as most venues won’t permit flash push the ISO as much as possible before it starts to degrade image quality and if appropriate consider using a tripod (just remember to turn the VR off if you do). Opt for a fast lens and don’t be afraid to use a wide aperture even as low as 1.4 or 2.8 to make the most of what light is there. Use the same aperture for the small yet significant items such as the rings and bridal accessories, thus softening the background but generating enough depth of field to render the subjects nice and sharp.

F5.6 for candid shooting and the romantic portraits will again keep the subject in focus yet blur distracting background detail. However there are occasions when you might prefer to slip into shutter priority, for example to capture the bride throwing the bouquet or children chasing each other around the venue  - for these occasions (depending on the light) a speed of 1/250 will lend itself for creating some charming results.

Depending on the number of guests that the couple want to appear in the formal group shots, you’ll be best using an aperture of between f8 and f11 to keep everybody pin sharp – depending on the quality of your lens this may mean pushing the ISO or incorporating a tripod. For pulled back compositions of the couple within the venue grounds and location shots in general you’ll need an aperture of between f9 and f11 to keep everything in sight in focus.

Finally for those end of the night dance images either use a long shutter (with some form of stability) to generate movement within the photo and for capturing waves of light from the DJ’s lighting rig, or employ a flash to freeze the action using an aperture of your choosing to compliment the effect you wish to achieve.

Monday, May 23, 2011

10 Surefire Landscape Photography Tips

Photo by Auto Matt
Landscape Photography Tips

1. Maximize your Depth of Field

While there may be times that you want to get a little more creative and experiment with narrow depth of fields in your Landscape Photography – the normal approach is to ensure that as much of your scene is in focus as possible. The simplest way to do this is to choose a small Aperture setting (a large number) as the smaller your aperture the greater the depth of field in your shots.
Do keep in mind that smaller apertures mean less light is hitting your image sensor at any point in time so they will mean you need to compensate either by increasing your ISO or lengthening your shutter speed (or both).

PS : of course there are times when you can get some great results with a very shallow DOF in a landscape setting (see the picture of the double yellow line below).

Photo by hkvam
2. Use a tripod 

As a result of the longer shutter speed that you may need to select to compensate for a small aperture you will need to find a way of ensuring your camera is completely still during the exposure. In fact even if you’re able to shoot at a fast shutter speed the practice of using a tripod can be beneficial to you. Also consider a cable or wireless shutter release mechanism for extra camera stillness.

3. Look for a Focal Point

All shots need some sort of focal point to them and landscapes are no different – in fact landscape photographs without them end up looking rather empty and will leave your viewers eye wondering through the image with nowhere to rest (and they’ll generally move on quickly).

Focal points can take many forms in landscapes and could range from a building or structure, a striking tree, a boulder or rock formation, a silhouette etc.

Photo by OneEighteen
 4. Think Foregrounds

One element that can set apart your landscape shots is to think carefully about the foreground of your shots and by placing points of interest in them. When you do this you give those viewing the shot a way into the image as well as creating a sense of depth in your shot.

5. Consider the Sky

Another element to consider is the sky in your landscape.

Most landscapes will either have a dominant foreground or sky – unless you have one or the other your shot can end up being fairly boring.

If you have a bland, boring sky – don’t let it dominate your shot and place the horizon in the upper third of your shot (however you’ll want to make sure your foreground is interesting). However if the sky is filled with drama and interesting cloud formations and colors – let it shine by placing the horizon lower.

Consider enhancing skies either in post production or with the use of filters (for example a polarizing filter can add color and contrast).

Photo by hkvam
 6. Lines

One of the questions to ask yourself as you take Landscape shots is ‘how am I leading the eye of those viewing this shot’? There are a number of ways of doing this (foregrounds is one) but one of the best ways into a shot is to provide viewers with lines that lead them into an image.

Lines give an image depth, scale and can be a point of interest in and of themselves by creating patterns in your shot.

7. Capture Movement

When most people think about landscapes they think of calm, serene and passive environments – however landscapes are rarely completely still and to convey this movement in an image will add drama, mood and create a point of interest.

Examples – wind in trees, waves on a beach, water flowing over a waterfall, birds flying over head, moving clouds.

Capturing this movement generally means you need to look at a longer shutter speed (sometimes quite a few seconds). Of course this means more light hitting your sensor which will mean you need to either go for a small Aperture, use some sort of a filter or even shoot at the start or end of the day when there is less light.

Photo by 3amfromkyoto
 8. Work with the Weather

A scene can change dramatically depending upon the weather at any given moment. As a result, choosing the right time to shoot is of real importance.

Many beginner photographers see a sunny day and think that it’s the best time to go out with their camera – however an overcast day that is threatening to rain might present you with a much better opportunity to create an image with real mood and ominous overtones. Look for storms, wind, mist, dramatic clouds, sun shining through dark skies, rainbows, sunsets and sunrises etc and work with these variations in the weather rather than just waiting for the next sunny blue sky day.

9. Think about Horizons

It’s an old tip but a good one – before you take a landscape shot always consider the horizon on two fronts.
  • Is it straight? – while you can always straighten images later in post production it’s easier if you get it right in camera.
  • Where is it compositionally? - a compositionally natural spot for a horizon is on one of the thirds lines in an image (either the top third or the bottom one) rather than completely in the middle. Of course rules are meant to be broken – but I find that unless it’s a very striking image that the rule of thirds usually works here.
Photo by curious spider
 10. Change your Point of View

You drive up to the scenic lookout, get out of the car, grab your camera, turn it on, walk up to the barrier, raise the camera to your eye, rotate left and right a little, zoom a little and take your shot before getting back in the car to go to the next scenic lookout.

We’ve all done it – however this process doesn’t generally lead to the ‘wow’ shot that many of us are looking for.

Take a little more time with your shots – particularly in finding a more interesting point of view to shoot from. This might start with finding a different spot to shoot from than the scenic look out (wander down paths, look for new angles etc), could mean getting down onto the ground to shot from down low or finding a higher up vantage point to shoot from.

Explore the environment and experiment with different view points and you could find something truly unique.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Secret of Creating a Strong Image - 5 Tips for Creating a Story in Your Image

In an era when we are drowning in images and lots of people and talents are competing for the viewers’ eyes or the magazines’ attention, have you ever wondered what makes you have a longer look at an image?

Is it the person that was photographed? Perhaps a certain color or an angle?

What is the secret of the photographers that mange to get their work published on magazines and newspapers? What is the secret of taking a strong image that lasts?

The secret of all strong images is their ability to provide the viewer a story .

Since the dawn of time, People gathered around the fire and shared stories with each other.

It doesn’t matter what subjects you like to shoot. If you want to become a good photographer, you have to be a good storyteller first. An image with a story, one that evokes emotion and curiosity will rise above other images and catch the viewer’s attention.

So what is the stuff of which “visual stories” are made from?

In most cases it is an emotion that the image creates. It can be empathy, curiosity or even negative emotions such is anger.

Even if you are dealing with macro or landscape photography it is better to have an image that tells a story. However, the best way for me to get a story is with people photography, as people are a large “pool” of stories and emotions.

Here are 5 tips for finding your “visual story” in Travel photography before departure, and on the road:

1. Preparation needed

The thing that makes the difference between an amateur and a professional in almost every field is usually preparation.

A professional photographer will start working even before leaving home, while an amateur photographer will wait for things to happen in front of their eyes in the field. Professionals will gather information that will help them exceed the potential of getting those photogenic stories on the road in minimum time and by doing so, increase the amount of good strong images.

What are the things that are worth checking before going to shot on a trip for example? Here are some classic examples:

Will there be any festival or photogenic event during your stay? Festivals are a great place for finding stories. Is there any taboo related to photography or culture in general in the country you are going to visit, that you must know? For example, the hill tribes that can be found on the mountains of Asia (as the woman from the Karen tribe in photo number 2) mostly believe that taking their photo would also take their soul. And trust me, the custom officers in your home country would not like the “soul” attached to your camera.

The best thing you can do to get this kind of information is to get the advice of a photographer who has already been there. Online photography forums would love to help you with that.

Want to take your photography to the next step? – Take a journey deeper into the place and read a little bit about the culture and history, prior to arrival.

The best tip someone has given me is to learn a few words of the local language. Locals appreciate people who try to speak their language (even if they laugh at them a bit at first)

Learning “Hello”, “Thank you” and ” may I take your photo?” will do wonders to your story telling images.

2. Getting closer

Taking photos of people from a distance with telephoto lens may be safer and will not ruin the spontaneity of the story, but there’s nothing like the narrative and emotional quality of close-ups in people photography.

Sometimes I want to photograph people from just a few inches away and still keep the spontaneity and intimacy.

What do I do? – I look for this moment in which the person returns to routine activity, after creating a bit of a connection with them and letting them understand that my camera and I don’t have any bad intentions.

I never approach people while the camera is hanging from my neck. It is threatening and may result in negative responses from the locals.

After greeting the person (in their language) I sit with them for a while, let them get used to my camera and me and only later I begin taking photos

Never ever forget- people don’t like to feel they are on a show for you. Always treat them with respect. The best way to do so is with the help of a local. So go to the next Section

3. Best ice breaker

Professional photographers use a fixer, which is a local who knows their needs as photographers and helps them to get around.

You can use a fixer, but you can also find your “fixer” in a much more interesting way and for free, in most cases. You can connect with local at your age in advance to your visit on the basis of “culture exchange”. The local will help you get to the best places and will also recommend which places to avoid. They will speak for you in their local language and will be the best “ice breaker”. All you have to do is be polite but it won’t hurt to bring your host something for your own country, like postcards or a unique product related to your place.

If you can find a photography student to be your fixer, it can be an exciting experience for both of you.

Hanging with a local as a friend or with a professional fixer does not give exemption from the previous section of “getting closer”.

4. The Stories generators

Feeling lost? Feeling unpleased with the photos you took? You can always try to visit a “story generator”. It can be anywhere that people Gather: a market, a central square or a festival. Just be alert and keep your eyes open and the stories will simply appear before your eyes.

The best tip for finding a “story generator” place is just to go to the places that interest you. It could be a church, a busy street, a quiet beach or even an abstract shooting of a building. Go with your passion and you will find your stories.

5. Last one for the road - get lost

We talked about the preparations and the work needed for good story finding, but sometimes all you need is to leave the tour guidebook in the hotel room and just go outside to walk the streets and roads looking for the unexpected.

Some of my best stories and photos came to me with this way of traveling.

Don’t forget to check with the locals or your fixer about the places that should be avoided and always, but always, check the time of your last ride home.

Oded Wagenstein is a travel photographer. His photographs were published on numerous magazines and websites world wide. 

He is known for his intimate culture portraits. In his works he put the emphasis on understanding the culture and achieving good relationship with the person being photographed pre-shooting.

Tips for Black and White Photography

You might be one of those photographers who decide to convert a photo to black and white in post production. Trying if it ‘works’ for a photo you took without thinking about black and white at the time. Nothing wrong with that, but have you ever tried to go out and shoot specifically with a black and white photo in mind? It’s worth doing so and I’d like to give you some tips for when you do.

Shoot in color

Most camera’s have a black and white preset that lets you take photos directly in black and white. Don’t use it. This might sound a bit weird, but you can better shoot your black and white images in color. A good black and white image will require post processing and the standard in-camera black and white conversion isn’t have as good as your own black and white conversion.
There is an exception to this rule; if you shoot in your cameras RAW format, you can use the black and white preset on your camera. When your shooting in RAW, your camera shows you its poor black and white conversion on your display, but the color information is still available. If your camera supports a RAW format, I’d recommend on using it. It will give you more control over the end result. The black and white preview on your camera display can help you to get a idea of how a black and white version might look.

Keeping control over the black and white conversion
Shoot at your lowest ISO setting

I know the grainy film look is popular in black and white photography, but I’d recommend on using the lowest possible ISO setting when taking your shots. Just like the black and white conversion itself, the grainy look is best added in post production. In the fill days photographers often used high ISO films to get the grainy look. Shooting in high ISO will give you enough noise, but the digital noise isn’t as sweet as the analog.
Be careful not to get unwanted movement in your shots when going for the lowest ISO setting. With modern cameras you can go up quite a lot before the noise kicks in. It’s better to get a sharp shot with some noise instead of a noiseless shot where your subject is a blur.

Grain added in post
Shoot on those gray days

You know those dull gray winter days when you feel like staying in bed for the day? Pick up your camera and go for a black and white shoot! Those grey days are perfect for black and white photography. The soft light will give you silky smooth transitions in your subjects. And, when needed, you can always add some extra contrast in post.

Learn to see black and white

The world looks differently in black and white. When you learn to ’see’ in black and white you’ll easily pick out the situations that are perfect for black and white photography. Try to envision how a shot will look in black and white before you take the shot. Seeing black and white requires practice. It isn’t too easy, but there are several things that may help you.

Differences in color versus black and white

Look for shapes. Shapes cast shadows that bring out the shape of a subject. If the light you use is hard, the shadows will show it. Beautiful shapes might disappear in an abundance of color. Black and white helps you to bring out the shape again.

With the absence of color, structure becomes more important. Use (or create) the light to bring out the structure. Structure can be found in many subjects, like hair, sand, skin or wood.

Too much contrast in a color photo often results in harsh and confusing images. Remove the color and harsh contrast becomes a great way to attract attention to your subject.

Showing structure