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Black and White Wildlife Photography

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Black and White Wildlife Photography

Throughout the ages, monochrome photography has been the mark of prestige. Since the earliest photographs were by default black and white, there is something quite nostalgic about a beautifully composed image set in the most basic of hues.

While wildlife photography is generally filled with colour, to capture the scene as it is, when the image is taken in monochrome colours, it takes on a powerful personality that instantly sets it apart from all of the thousands of other wildlife pictures out there. Wildlife photography, much like any other photography style, is used to convey a particular story and when the same image is taken in both colour and black and white, you can instantly feel the two emotions conveyed through the photo.

With colourful photos, there is generally quite a lot going on and this can be distracting when you want your audience to focus on one part of the image. Monochrome tends to bring the subject out more, and make them the focal point of the image. Black and white photography also tends to be quite mood and more than capable of picking up the finer details.

Then there is the artistic aspect of this style of photography. Nothing quite says artistic than an image shot in only two colours. The image can almost take on the form of a painting, especially when the other settings of your camera are tuned the right way. Blurred, moving images with a single prominent focus, can change the outcome of the photo, quickly turning it into a work of art.

A few tips to keep in mind

Once you’ve practiced your photography for a while and you know your camera, you could well be tempted to start exploring another side of your hobby. If monochrome is the next step for you, you might find these tips helpful:

  1. Noise is okay. So don’t worry about a bit of blur or grain. The image is going to tell a story and sometimes, those imperfect photos are exactly what you need. With this style, it’s the perfect opportunity to be creative.
  2. Use filters. There is a style of monochrome photography that is called spilt-tone, which incorporates some hues with the black and white image to create something that looks completely different.
  3. Be bold with your textures and angles and take a different perspective to create something unique.
  4. Choose a striking subject. As your image will be colour free, having a prominent subject is helpful and will ensure that the eye focuses on what you want the viewer to see.
  5. Lighting is still important. Natural lighting will affect your photography, so make sure that you use the golden hour and shadows to your full advantage.

Black and white photography is a wonderful way to experiment and while your camera probably has a colour setting, to get the most out of your image, you might want to try shooting in colour and changing it during post-processing, until you get the comfortable shooting in black and white.