At Creative Photo Academy and Paul's Photo we think there's something special about Black and White photography. There's a romance to it. Non photographers often tell us that B&W looks more artistic. What I think they mean is that it helps them see the world a little differently. And it does. So whether you've just started dabbling in it or you were raised eating breakfast from a cereal box with Ansel Adam's pictures of Yosemite on it, we want to be a resource for you.
Mark Comon, the founder of Creative Photo Academy, has built a weekend long workshop aimed specifically at the Black and White photographer. He'll take you through the entire process from learning to think in black and white, heading out on a shoot together, editing your photographs in the classroom and making a final digital print. If you're the type of person that want's to benefit from his years of experience we think his Black and White Workshop on October 17 & 18, 2015 is going to change the way you think about making pictures. But for those of you that can't make it, I asked Mark to share some tips for getting started:
For nearly a century photography existed only in black and white. After the advent of color film most casual photographers left black and white photography to the fine art photographers. Today the enthusiast and family photographer has re-discovered the simple beauty of the monochrome* image. Black and white photographs offer the classic power and grace unavailable with color pictures.
To get started in Black & White switch your digital camera to the B&W mode, even in full AUTO. You’ll find this in the picture style or special effects settings. It’s that simple to start in Black & White. Play with the interactions of textures and tones (as opposed to colors). Look for the way soft shadows play with your subject, notice the creative effects of texture and patterns in the world. You’ll capture life in 256 shades of gray. Black and white photography is addicting. Soon you’ll soon be learning to use your camera in Manual mode!
Black and white photography is a study of light, shadow and form. To capture the best photos look for gentle light with infinite detail and shades of gray. The beginner will always gravitate towards the strong shadows of light and dark subjects (like a zebra) but there's more! John Sexton’s book The Quiet Light illustrates perfectly the beauty of soft, virtually shadow-less light for black & white pictures of simple subjects. Look for soft shadows and overcast skies for both landscape and portrait shooting.
Simple subjects, soft light and your creative eye will make beautiful black & white pictures. It’s fun to try new things and make some amazing pictures too.