B&W Photography Underwater

woman, dress, waterA previous post mentions why black and white photography has captivated millions of people for millennia and still does! The trick of the trade when taking black and white pictures is to use a wide angled lens. Rectilinear lenses that emphasis lines are the ideal choice. For pictures that turn out perfect when converted to black and white, try following these simple guidelines:

-Since a good black and white photograph is one with lots of details and contrast, try to take a picture so that the details remain in the shadowy areas. Avoid using highlights.

-Another tip is keeping the photo tack in focus and sharp

-Your frame should be filled with a scene that emphasizes details and texture

-Emphasize on shape, as well. Well-recognized shapes, like Squids and various pelagic invertebrates are excellent subjects.

-You may also emphasize on outlines, instead which makes wrecks a perfect choice for leading lines

-A high ISO will give you the grainy look that we all so admire in black and white pictures.
Think in black and white.

Converting Color to B&W

We have already covered the topic on converting color images to black and white, this section focuses on finding the right image for such a conversion. An image that is dull, lacks warmth and contrast, that separates the subject from the background could look spectacular in black and white! When selecting, pick an image:
-That has been taken in ambient light only. The wider the angle, the better.

-Keep your image choice simple –minimal elements

-Choose a composition that is serene – clean negative space with the subject that is easily identifiable.

-Well-defined shapes, structures, textures, tonality, and patterns make for ideal choices.

-Most importantly, do not forget to play! Postproduction playtime is very important, if you want to end up with heart-touching images. Convert to black and white and raise them back from the dead; dial down the brightness, up the contrast or have fun with tonalities to discover what you consider the “perfect” combination!

Get Better

To get better at it, start reading manuals on underwater photography, or just photography, in general. Studio photographers can teach you a lot about lighting. Keep in mind; most of the rules for wildlife photography are a go for underwater photography too. Do not disregard your camera body manual; peruse it before attempting to take any pictures. Now arm yourself and shoot!
Drop us a comment to let us know what would you like to read about in the next blog post.

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