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Saul Leiter – Early Black And White

Dan Eitreim

June 19, 2015

There is an ultimate question that vexes all glamour photographers, from beginners to gurus. It sounds fairly simple, but evokes tremendous doubts. This question is “Color or black and white?” It was simple back when photography only existed in grayscale – nobody would be concerned about the issues of colors, shades and how they match. Glamour images were all black and white, still being distinguishable and artistic.

It all changed when film started capturing more than mere light and shadows, but also color. Nowadays, when digital photography enabled photographers to reproduce millions of shades, the “bright” approach seems even more preferable.

So, let us investigate this matter and find the solution to using colors and back and white efficiently and wisely. As many issues of glamour photography, it is mostly about the artist’s purpose, not some firmly-established rules or canons. First of all, it should be mentioned first-hand that it is equally difficult to achieve perfect colors and perfect grayscale image. If you think that shooting in black and white is going to make your photographer’s job easier, think again.

Light is crucial in both color and old school black and white photography. Without the proper lighting the mood will be spoiled and the photograph would be flat. No exceptions. No matter if you prefer to create colorful photos or position yourself as a conservative fan of black and white, you need to mind the lighting at all times. What is really different though, is the impression those two different photographic dimensions make upon the viewer. There are several issues you might consider on this matter:

o Color proves a great tool when you need to place emphasis upon something. Colorful photo attracts immediate attention; composition is easy to arrange based on the colors of its key elements; different shades create different mood and contribute to the impact a photo can have.

o Black and white puts more stock in texture and forms rather than different tones and shades. It also makes the game of light and shadow more visible, and therefore more comprehensive. If you want to produce a subtle, artistic and powerful photo, black and white is invaluable. Besides, it helps to conceal unnatural colors and shades, so if your model ended up somewhat yellowish on the photo, you can always turn to grayscale.

o Different types of monochrome can also help you make an artistic picture. For example, sepia is fairly popular with photographers. You might also try other techniques – duotone, infrared, high-key etc. There are many tutorials on the Web, so nothing really limits your creativity.

o Color can be effectively combined with black and white, though this is considered somewhat clichéd – but who cares? As long as it works, you can turn to even the most banal approaches – as long as you can produce something original and unique, it doesn’t matter. Colorful spots on black and white background can attract viewer’s attention and create certain mood; grayscale areas among the abundance of colors can also be useful for producing atmospheric work.

You must have realized by now that there is no right or wrong choice on this particular subject – as long as color and grayscale co-exist, so long glamour photographers will enjoy their holy wars about what is best to use. In fact, you don’t need to choose – if something serves your purpose best of all, corresponds to the mood of your photo and delivers your message efficiently, you should have no doubts about what you do. Creating a masterpiece is never about gear, techniques or style – it is about passion and your unique vision.

Michael Zelbel is a passionate photographer, who teaches portrait photography and coaches amateur photographers online. His new glamour blog is titled Glamour Images. It is a valuable resource for amateur photographers who are interested in nude female photography.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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