Take a min­i­mal­ist ap­proach and cre­ate images that re­ally catch the eye

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

“When you con­vert colour images to black and white, do it with con­vic­tion,” says Lee Frost. “The clue is in the name. Don’t be scared of pure whites and true blacks. Boost con­trast, add im­pact and drama, oth­er­wise you’ll end up with grey, dull and bor­ing images, and there are enough of those in ex­is­tence al­ready.”

When it comes to high-qual­ity black and white pho­tog­ra­phy, it pays to fo­cus on the de­tails, re­move dis­trac­tions and go for some­thing that is almost ab­stract through the pre­ci­sion of com­po­si­tion and fram­ing. This can be done in a num­ber of ways. First of all, try iso­lat­ing an area of a scene that is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing vis­ually and base your com­po­si­tion solely around that. If you can make it so spe­cific that do­ing so almost re­sults in an ab­stracted re­sult, so much the bet­ter. Pay at­ten­tion to the colour pal­ette and get to know how in­di­vid­ual hues con­vert to black and white, as some work to­gether in a much more in­ter­est­ing way than oth­ers once trans­formed to mono­chrome.

An­other al­ter­na­tive op­tion is to use a square crop. “Some­times the sim­plest things can make a dif­fer­ence, and one of those is crop­ping your images to a square,” ex­plains Lee Frost. “The square for­mat is bal­anced and calm, so it im­me­di­ately changes the dy­namic of the shot. Square pho­to­graphs also seem more artis­tic; no idea why – they just do! Try it if you’re not con­vinced.” Of course, this is partly an edit­ing con­sid­er­a­tion – more on this in the next tip.


BE GRAPHIC Strik­ing, semi-ab­stract images are par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive when they are con­verted to black and white.



“i com­bined two pho­tos taken with Lens­baby com­poser, both with pin­hole op­tic. i took the the back­ground with a pan­ning tech­nique at 1/15 sec­ond, f2.8 and iSO 400, [drag­ging] the cam­era down­wards when press­ing the shut­ter, so it cre­ated a curly tex­ture for tree leaves. the little girl im­age i took in a beach. i cropped the im­age, copied and pasted it to the gar­den im­age, then i chose the Mul­ti­ply op­tion in the layer blend­ing sec­tion. i ad­justed the size of the little girl then placed it at the empty space be­tween two trees”




“the first im­age is a kid play­ing on a tram­po­line, the sec­ond one is a tex­ture cap­ture of a ce­ment floor. i man­aged a blurry fo­cus in the first im­age us­ing a tele lens, and for the sec­ond one i took it with a sharp fo­cus, so to­gether it would make a good con­trast. i cropped the floor photo into a square for­mat then i copied and pasted the blurry kid to the ce­ment floor photo with Mul­ti­ply [blend mode]. i also ad­justed the opac­ity level to merge them well so it looks like a sin­gle im­age. i ad­justed the size of the blurry kid and placed it at the right cor­ner un­til the com­po­si­tion looked well bal­anced”


Above right EX­PER­I­MENT

“this im­age is com­prised of two blended to­gether, taken about ten min­utes apart. the shad­ows were chang­ing so quickly. Orig­i­nally, i was go­ing to do a dip­tych, with the images side by side, but when i ex­per­i­mented lay­er­ing them, i pre­ferred the re­sult. A little boost in con­trast and some burn­ing to make the blend more seam­less, and this is the re­sult”


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