Photographing Black and White Nature: Tipster


We all know how astonishing and breath-taking Mother Nature can be. However, are you able to take advantage of all this beauty and portray it in your photographs? Here are some humble tips that may help you.

Before I knew about Lomography, even before I came across with analogue photography, I have already felt captivated by Mother Nature. I cannot describe the way it makes feel, I just want to capture all their beauty and show what I see to others. The problem is that, every time I think about Nature, I do it in black and white, as some kind of frozen memory. This is what I do before shooting.

Flowers are precious beings, with so many different shapes and colours. This is something you will have to consider before choosing any black and white film, or even before choosing the camera or the background around your principal subject. You may not see it, but all these things are powerful tools on their own, but when they are all together, they can be the master key in your photographs. So here is the trick, every time you shoot in black and white, you have to think in black and white. This means that every colour and every tone your eye perceive will have to be immediately transform into a grey scale. This will give an idea of how your picture will look like, and how to take advantage of all the colours around you so that each one of them stands out on its own, this way you will get a more contrasted picture, with interesting shadows and lights.

I mentioned before that the camera and film were an important thing. If you want to get a really precise image, I recommend you to choose a camera with a decent lens. The optic here will play a very important role. For example, if you want a well-defined flower, I recommend you to chose a rangefinder camera. The results are really amazing.

On the other hand, if you are looking for something more experimental, our lovely and unlimited toy cameras are a great option. I like both ways, it all depends on the mood I am, but you can get great photographs with both, you just have to decide since the very beginning how you want your pictures to look like. It is all up to you, and what you are expecting to get. Do you want a photograph where the flower is perfectly drawn, or do you prefer a tender and ghostly presence of a flower?

Choosing the correct film will influence the whole atmosphere of your pictures. I usually work with an Ilford XP2 400, but I have worked with the Kodak TX 400, as well as the 110 black and white film, the Orca. Each of them were made in different ways, so they have different tones. The Kodak TX 400 has a more sepia effect, the Ilford is definitely the definition of a grey scale, and the Orca gets you more contrast.

Kodak TX 400
Ilford XP2 400

Those steps were the preparation for the big deal. Pre-production is like half of the work, but there is still missing the other half, which will come alive in the practice, at the very moment of shooting. What I am talking about is, composition and angles. When I say composition, I am referring to the Golden Section.

The Golden Section is used almost in everything, but for most designers, architects, artist and photographers, this is the way to get an interesting and well-composed piece of art. The point where the spiral seems to never end, is the point where your photograph will have more tension, in other words, the most beautiful and important part of the whole photograph.

I know you cannot bring the Golden Section every time you go out to take some pictures; but you will have to mentally remember it and, as if your eyes where some kind of scan, imagine the Golden Section in front of your image before shooting. You may want to reconsider if it is the perfect angle for your picture.

Well, that is all. I hope this tips serves you all. Do not forget that this steps are important, but it is more important what you see, and what you do not see. So keep your eyes wide open and practice.

written by panefeky on 2013-04-19 in #gear #tipster #ilford-xp2 #angle #composition #intimate #flower #minolta #beauty-in-black-and-white #nature #golden-section #yashica #close-up #nature-in-black-and-white #film #orca #tipster


  1. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    Good tips. B&W nature is more difficult, as color seems to make everything look good. I still like B&W for many things.

  2. janja93
    janja93 ·

    Good stuff, I love the look of minimalist black & white photos especially!

  3. stonerfairy
    stonerfairy ·

    Great TIPS! THanx Alot!

  4. mllev
    mllev ·

    Great article, thanks!! I tend to use b&w, but sometimes, I wonder whether certain pictures would not have been better in color... I shoot 1 or 2 color films and go back to b&w :)

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