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Introduction to B&W Digital Photography - Photography for Beginners

written by: Gustavo Lequerica-Calvo•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/23/2009

One form of art is Black and White Photography, a form to express sensitivity and beauty of any subject. Photography has evolved and is easier to do today due the technological advances. All we need is some basic knowledge and a good idea to produce a quality photograph that will mesmerize.

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    Lequerica - PhotographyLequerica - PhotographyLequerica - PhotographyBiografias de Personajes CartagenerosGustavo A. Lequerica - PhotographyGustavo A. Lequerica - Photography
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    A Brief Walktrough to the theory of B&W photography

    With the development of technologies, such as modern digital cameras, many people feel that the advance in photography and video technologies are allowing everyone to use equipment that, in the past, was difficult to use and expensive. With the innovations in the photography field, we can reproduce vintage like images with our personal cameras because the effects are there, and even if you want to use an effect that is missing from your digital camera's features, you can simply use photo editing software.

    Within this article, we are going to look at some basic concepts that we need to take care when producing black and white photos. You need to know that B&W photography is mostly an artistic form where the photographer can express his sensitivity with the juxtaposition of lights and shadows, to call back a nostalgia factor within the collective. The history of B&W photos and photography is quite notable, but basically since the first days it was the most common process to develop images before the color photography. In the past, it was difficult to take a single photo as the functions of the camera were limited, a simple photography such as a portrait was a piece of art, because of the difficulty of the technique, everything was needing to be set properly. Imagine how complicated it was to take a simple portrait, such as the fourth photography in the gallery above. Imagine how the light was needed to be set properly, the film, and almost every component had to be perfect or the photo would be ruined. Even the people had to be still, because if they moved, the portrait could be ruined and there were no second shots due the prices of the materials back then, today is a lot easier with the evolutions of the camera.

    Look at the photos above, see the second photo? It was taken during the night with poor light of a girl sitting on a bench. Adjusting the lens to the proper position and using the flash can obtain a better result, as in the first photograph that shows the same girl, on the same bench, but from a different angle. The main trick today at the moment of composing a B&W digital photo is to take care of the light to obtain a better quality; the colors are not something to worry about, as the monochromatic palette is only reduced to three tones of black and white, and it will be easier to focus on the shape of the subjects. In the past, cameras were more than still cameras and they didn’t permit at great extent the fluidity and definition of movement that today cameras do, see figure number three.

    It’s worth to say that today cameras are like small computers. To obtain and process B&W or Sepia images, we just need to push a button and we have the photos we want. But to make a quality picture, we need to follow some basic rules of photography such as the ones expressed in the Photojournalism Article, or following our instinct when we see something that catches our eye.