Black & White photography tips & advice

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by benjyman345, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. benjyman345

    benjyman345 TPF Noob!

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    hello,

    I have done a lot of film and digital photography but am fairly new to black and white film photography.

    I would like some tips and advice for taking black and white photographs and how to achieve artistic and stunning results.
    I currently have yellow and red filters for my camera.

    Thanks
     
  2. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    This is the kind of broad question that would be better answered by reading a book.
     
  3. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    I agree with Traveler and would also mention that everyone's ideas of "artistic and stunning results" will be different. A good book like Ansel Adams "The Negative" (the whole series is great), or Henry Horenstein's "Black and White Photography" would be great resources.
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    My tip is to shoot, shoot, shoot. Learn to see in b&w. Think about what you are shooting.

    It's not the fun answer, but I think it's the most effective. If you want more specifics, I agree with the others. There are some great books and courses out there. There really aren't any shortcuts.
     
  5. benjyman345

    benjyman345 TPF Noob!

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    hi,

    thanks... i will look out for some good books at the library.

    Just wondering is it best to use a red or yellow filter for the following black and white photo:

    Green leaves with scattered backlit sunlight giving darker and lighter tones of green on the leaves. Which filter would be best to enhance this photo in black and white?

    thanks
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I don't think there's a right answer to that. I'd experiment with both to see what they do yourself, and then you can decide which you like when.

    Sorry for the vague answers, but photography is an art, so the approach can be a little fuzzy.
     
  7. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Filters in black and white photography give more density to the color represented by the filter, making that color appear lighter in a print. Yellow filters will lighten yellows and neighboring greens. A red filter will lighten reds, including skin tones. The colors opposite the color of the filter receive less density. Skies normally darken with a yellow and red filter. Morse so with a red. Contrast is increased then by both filters, with the red being the strongest. Be mindful that either filter is reducing the overall light hitting the film. A typical red filter can cause a loss of 1 stop or more of light. If you are metering through the lens with the filter on, no correction is needed. If you are metering with a handheld meter, you'll need to account for this correction. Bracketing is a good idea.
     
  8. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Look at the subject and hold a filter in front of your eye (closing the other eye). Move it away from your eye, then back, up and down a few times, and take a mental note at the various tonal shifts you are seeing with that particular filter. For instance is the foliage becoming lighter, darker, etc.

    You can give yourself a reasonable idea of what to expect just by practicing this simple test before you choose one to attach to your lens.

    You can also burn a couple rolls of film first using one filter, then another, on the same subject at the same time of day. Just test it, and decide for yourself which you like. As the others have stated, there is no real right or wrong answer, hence the subjectivity of what we each perceive as "artistic and stunning results". You will find yours. :)

    PS And be sure to check out this series of articles. You may find answers on B&W photography to questions you didn't even know you had! ;)
     
  9. kapycon

    kapycon TPF Noob!

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    when I shoot film (which I do very often) I shoot strictly in b&w and develope it as well. From experience, the biggest key to good b&w is lighting. A good picture will have good contrast with strong deep blacks, strong whites and tones in between. In order to achieve this its important to shoot at certain times of the day when the sun is casting unique lighting onto whatever you are looking to shoot. Try to imagine your subject without color and just look at the contrasting elements of it instead.
     

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