With landscape photography think most of us to color photography. But photographing landscapes in black and white has its own qualities and can certainly produce great photos. In this article 10 Tips to make good black and white photographs of landscapes.
When you think of landscape photography, think most of us to color photography. Gorgeous red sunsets, beautiful blue skies with white clouds, fields of flowers, etc. And yes that is also beautiful and these are issues that are beautiful to photograph in color. But when you’re photographing is photographing landscapes in black and white its own qualities and it may well create fantastic pictures. In this article I’ll give you 10 tips to make good black and white photographs of landscapes.
Tip 1: Shooting in RAW
Yes I know this might sound a bit like an open door. But there are still people who shoot in jpg. RAW files are about three times as large as a high resolution JPG file that comes out of your camera. These additional data in the RAW file contains valuable information about the landscape that you photographed and you can make good use when converting to black and white. If you want to photograph landscapes in black and white: stop shooting in jpg! You do not always know in advance when you make those amazing images. Sometimes it turns a photo to black and white to work better than in color. And if you’ve made it in jpg, then you have 2/3 of your information thrown away by the time you pressed the button …
Tip 2: Visualize in black and white
What do I mean exactly? In a black-and-white, you have no color at your disposal to deal with the attention. A black-and-white strong emphasis on shapes, lines, texture and shadows in your photo. To put these elements right in the picture, you have all the colors that you see your password for you, and focus strongly on the lines, shapes, texture and shadows in the landscape.
Tip 3: Set your camera to black and white
I mean that you have to shoot all in black and white? No, because if you shoot in RAW, your camera will simply capture all the colors nicely. But the picture behind on your screen is black and white. This can help you visualize how your black and white could look out! Indeed, the image that a translation into monochrome appear on your screen is bad that is created by your camera. But it helps at least to see the picture without color. Especially if you have not photographed so often landscapes in black and white.
Tip 4: Look for contrast and tones
As it already says: Monochrome photography. So both should be present in your photo. This creates contrast and this ensures that the picture is more interesting to watch. The famous American landscape photographer Ansel Adams used for this are zone system. With this system, he made sure that he has all the contrast and tonality of the landscape that he photographed captured. Both when taking the photo and when making the final print of the photograph in the darkroom. In this zone system is Zone 0 and Zone 10 for pure black to pure white. All nine zones in between are a gradient between almost pure black to almost pure white. In NIK Silver Efex Pro find this Zone System under the histogram and by clicking on it you can see exactly where the zone in your photo is available.
Tip 5: Look for texture in the landscape
That rocky foreground, the grains of sand on the beach, the blades of grass on the roadside, etc. Texture makes the landscape picture more tangible. Make sure you get in this razor-sharp image (so you use a tripod)! The texture in the landscape is the best forward if you shoot with side lighting or backlighting. With the light in your back the texture is flat and boring. Avoid this if at all possible!
Tip 6: Use filters
Many effects of filters can now be simulated well in the post. In the analogue era was a lot of work by black witfotografen with color filters to get the contrast of the picture directly in making the best possible way. But now filters are still very useful. The effects of these filters we still are found in presets of different software packages.
Filters that are still useful sense to use:
Polarizing filters take away reflection and thereby ensure that the clouds in your photos come out much stronger. Make sure that you are at an angle to the sun. If this angle is 90 degrees, the effect of your polarization filter is maximum. If you’re the sun right or straight ahead shining in your lens in your back, does a polarizing filter anything.
Grijsverloopfiters can help you to manage and the whole tonality of the landscape that you shoot to capture the contrast. When the sun shines, and you’re shooting against backlight, the contrast is soon greater than what your camera in a photo can. By using gray gradient filters can stop some light into the bright parts so that the dark parts are exposed longer. This allows you to capture a greater range of tonality.
Gray filters without gradient are very useful to create interesting effects that are simply impossible in post processing. You could here Zoom.nl earlier article “Getting Started Shooting with a slow shutter speed to” read. Using slow shutter speeds can create beautiful sweeping effects of the clouds that floated over during the long shutter speed of your photo. Do not be afraid to use quite slow shutter speeds. With 10 to 16 stops ND gray filtering it is possible to midday shutter speeds of 3 – to achieve 15 minutes. This allows you to shoot landscapes at different times when you would do normally (around sunrise or sunset).
Tip 7: Make sure your composition is perfect
Of course, the making of a good composition is always important. But in a black and white photo there is no color that attracts attention in your photo. It will go almost automatically more attention to the composition of your photograph. Make sure you place something in the foreground which attracts attention. Looking for strong lines that lead you through the picture. It makes your pictures easier to “read” and causes your longer hold the attention. Look at the next picture how I have applied this strategy.
Tip 8: Use HDR to record a greater range in tonality
HDR photography is pretty popular nowadays, but it is mainly done in color. Actually, that provide a bit strange, because HDR in black and white is beautiful results. So if you do not like HDR photography because those colors which gives you oppose: try it in black and white! Look at the example below I made at the NDSM wharf in Amsterdam. It shows the landscape with a wide range of tonality and texture of the vowels is due to the strong backlighting well forward.
Tip 9: Convert your photo to black and white with NIK Silver Efex Pro 2
You could here Zoom.nl before the article “Convert a photo to black and white with Silver Efex Pro ‘ (http://zoom.nl/artikel/cursussen/22587-omzetten-van-een-foto-naar-zwart-wit-met-silver-efex-pro.html) reading. For me, Silver Efex Pro is the best software out there is your picture to convert to black and white. The software has a large number of presets that you can go through easy to see what conversion is the closest to the desired by you. Then you have this software the ability to further customize every aspect of your picture to your liking. In addition to Silver Efex Pro lets you view your course with Photoshop (Elements) or Photoshop Lightroom convert to black and white. Also in this software are many presets available to choose from and you can then make local adjustments.
Tip 10: Make your pictures perfect with dodging and hold
With by dodging and will mean nothing but specific parts of the image to lighten and other parts darker. This makes the contrast even more emerges and sends your attention how your photo is viewed. Indeed, the lightest areas of your photo pulling the first and the most attention and the darkest parts less. Ask yourself whether this is consistent with what you see in your picture. And whether this fits with you aim with your pictures!
Ansel Adams was comfortable the whole day working in his darkroom with one print. Fortunately we can now do this in the digital post-processing with more control and less time. But take your time. Look at your picture and let it quietly sink in. Ask yourself: Where I can improve even further?
Silver Efex Pro Control points you have at your disposal to make local adjustments in your photo. Lightroom is done with the adjustment brush. Personally I do this preferably in Photoshop. I add a new layer which I fill with 50% gray. Then I set the blend mode of this layer to Soft light or covered (= stronger). If all is well you see anything now. Then I’ll go with a black brush or a white light or dark brush painting itself in places that I think need this. Of course I can take back the opacity of the brush and the coloring effect as very subtle. If you are like me have access to a pen palette (eg Wacom) to do so easily and precisely.