Photography Tips and Tricks – Let Black and White Emphasize the Emotion

I had a conversation with a friend one time and we were talking about this question – “How do you know when to turn a picture black and white?”

I thought to myself and replied, “Good question! How do you know?”

Something as simple as that stumped me, but as we were talking, my friend learned the answer from another friend and it was as simple as this – “You turn the photo black and white with the most emotion or depth of feeling.”

It was profound so I had to test for myself.  Check out the following picture:

One can say that the emotions communicated from this picture could be ‘Joy,’ ‘Excitement, ‘Cheer’ and many others.

Now take a look at the same photo in black and white:

Don’t you think those emotions come through in a clearer way? It does to me. The emotion in the black and white photo just seems more accented and highlighted. Turning this photo black and white in particular certainly did deepen the “depth of feeling.” Why do you think? I think the reason is this:

The processing of information by our brains is competitive.  This is true because we tend to prioritize information in our subconscious.  So when our brains process the emotion communicated by a picture, it is in direct competition with everything else it is processing at the same time including the color from a picture.  A black and white photo simply gives you less colors and therefore ‘less competition’ and allows for the emotion to win over.  I believe that is why black and white photos gives us the nostalgic feelings they do because the emotions come through in a stronger way and we relate to that emotion.

Agree or disagree? Try it for yourself.

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Photography Tips and Tricks – Minimize the Areas of Contrast in Backgrounds

When taking a portrait, there are lots of things that can distract from the goal of the portrait. The goal of the portrait is to convey the personality and identity of the person through their expressed facial features. The less distractions you have in a picture, the more your portrait conveys that person…simple right? The one common thief of the goal of a portrait is the background. Shooting a portrait with a minmal background greatly makes your photo stand out.

Now not everyone has a fancy studio and I’m not a huge fan of cheesy cloth smoke backgroundssmoke-background so shooting outdoor in a more natural environment is more preferable. But when shooting outdoors, it’s important to choose your background wisely when taking a portrait.

One technique is to minimize the areas of contrast such as light and dark. Check out the following photos:

361A9906-2  361A9903

Which photo do you think emphasizes the face better? If you chose the photo on the right, you are correct. The portrait on the left has a large contrast of areas of dark and light that really distracts from the portrait while the picture on the right minimizes the contrasting areas. The picture on the right primarily has lighter areas that really allow for the portrait to be emphasized. Shooting with a low f of course helps you blend that nice background into a nice creamy mesh. BOKEH!

Hope this helps you guys! Please share this tip with others and check back for more tips and tricks. Thanks!


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