Black and white still life photography is beautiful in its simplicity. Still life photography is all about subjects that are inanimated and cannot move. For example you can capture food, ornaments, flowers etc.Here are top 5 tips to get the best of black and white still life photography.
1. Learn to Think in Black and White
Planning and thinking as a black and white photographer and a still life photo shoot is essential. This process requires a bit of brain storming. Thinking in that way, you will choose the right objects, story and, lighting for your images.
Get inspirations from photographs of the same field and check out their work for the better results. Masters in the field such as Edward Weston and Karl Blossfeldt were pioneers of still photography. They made unique works of art in black and white from simple everyday objects.
2. Enhance Textures and Shapes With Lighting
Without getting colors in the way, you can still play to the great strengths of black and white photography like with shapes and texture. Look to see where lines intersect and how light accentuates different textures.
Think about this throughout the black and white still life photography process. From selecting your subject matter and photographing it, to post-production and presentation.
It is preferable to use low key lighting with either sunlight near a window, or a soft sidelight. You can also experiment with and without a reflector. That way, you can check which works best for texture and shape.
Also, move your subject around and see how it catches the light from different angles. Sometimes a subtle move of half a centimetre can make a big difference.
If you are capturing an image without people or movement, it still can tell a story. You can consider shapes of leaves at different stages of their life cycle. And how different tones can convey emotion into your photography.
Black and white images of flowers gives the true beauty of their lines and shapes. Black and white flower photography is a great starting point for monochromatic still life photography.
Texture and style of a weathered shoe in black and white tell us about their owner, even if you do not feature a human in the photograph.
Antique things give stunning impact in black and white photographs. And you can enhance the story by using sepia or warm monochrome tones.
Look around your home or yard. See what subjects you can find that tell an impactful story. Even the most mundane object can become a work of art. All it needs is the right texture and shape with careful lighting and post-production.
4. Use Simple Compositions to Stand Out
Black and white photography is all about shapes, textures and lines. It is very important to use a clear and simple composition that does not get distracted from these elements.
If you are not certain of your composition, remove something from the frame of your area. Or take a step back to include more negative space.
5. Use the Color Sliders to Enhance Black and White Still Life Photos
When it comes to black and white still life photography, clicking the shutter is only solution of the process. Fine-tuning images in post-production is the important final step.
Clarity adjustment, dodging and burning, and spot removal are standard techniques to tidy up your photo in Lightroom or Camera Raw. But the tool I use most with my black and white still life photographs is the HSL (hue, saturation, luminance) colour slider.
Moving individual sliders up or down gives you great control of light and shadows. It can transform your photograph by defining textures and shapes and even changing the focal point.
Still life photography in black and white provides great opportunities. Just keep it simple; start with objects you are familiar with. Experiment with whatever light and textures and equipment you have on-hand.
Push the boundaries with your black and white still life photography, and don’t be afraid to get a bit arty!
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