Top 5 Tips For Black And White Sports Photography

In an interesting move to adopt older styles of photography, more and more people are today showing preference for black and white photographs as opposed to coloured photos. One of the main reasons for is the artistic and timeless elegance that black and white photos often exude. Black and white photography has a way of bringing out the emotions of the photos subject in a way that is difficult to achieve with coloured photos.

Probably because of the fewer colours and shades, black and white photographs often look clearer than coloured photographs. The fact that black and white photos are rare when compared to coloured ones also makes them stand out. This has been one of the reasons that black and white photographs are finding their way into important occasions such as weddings.

But simply taking black and white photographs does not necessarily guarantee that end result will be as per expectations. There are 5 fundamental principles that one must be adhere to when taking such pictures: that is, texture, shape and form, contrast, light and pattern. In fact, the way these principles are applied is what forms the major distinction between black and white photography, and coloured photography.

Shape and Form It is important for the photographer to always bear in mind the shape and form of the photo’s subject. Remember that colour easily enables anyone looking at the photo notice different shapes and forms even if the objects are arranged in a somewhat hap hazard manner. With black and white photographs, you have to take a more deliberate approach. So when taking the photo, ensure you arrange all objects that are meant to form the focus and background of the photo in a way that creates an attractive and interesting theme. Contrast Depth is one of the most important aspects of a quality photograph. Depth in a black and white photograph is achieved by making the most use of different shades and tones of black, white and grey. One way to do this as a photographer is to play around with the lighter and darker objects and surfaces of the photo. For instance, a lighter object may be placed in front of a dark surface to bring out the contrast. This breathes life into the photograph.


Pattern Since you do not have a wide range of colours to work with when taking black and white photos, you have to make maximum use of design patterns on the objects you are photographing. Good patterns can increase the intensity of the photo thus making it more interesting and attractive. Texture Due to the lower number of colours and shades, it is not as easy for someone to pick out the focus of a black and white photograph as it is for a coloured photo. This is where texture is important. It is the contrasting textures of different objects and surfaces on the photograph that will allow the person looking at the photo to distinguish which object is the primary focus of the photo.

Light If contrast is important, then light is critical in black and white photography. This is because the proper application of light can make the difference in how well the objective of the four earlier discussed principles is realized. The position of the light and shade must clearly bring out depth, contrast, pattern and texture. Light when correctly used brings clarity to the edges of the object(s) being photographed.

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Different Ways To Achieve Levitation Photography

The easiest and simplest way to achieve levitation in a photograph is to ask the subject to jump up as high as they can while you photograph them. But make sure that you have set your speed to a high speed. I find that 1/200 – 1/1000 is sufficient enough to capture the moving subject and freezing them in action. Alternatively, if your camera has a “sports” mode, switch to that mode and the camera will automatically adjust the speed sufficient enough to freeze any movement. If you are struggling to get up to high speeds, you may need to increase your ISO, open up your aperture or increase the light available.


Also don’t forget to switch the focusing to manual, especially when the subject will be jumping towards or away from the camera. This is to prevent any mis-focus as the subject is moving in and out of the depth of field. If you’d like to learn more about manual focusing, please visit our manual focusing tutorial

Throw the object!

If you want to portray a tiny object to appear to float in the air, you can capture the photograph as the object being thrown up. Again, high speed is essential in achieving this photograph. A bit of Photoshop will do the trick! Now, I doubt that you can throw a car up mid-air, so in the next example, you’ll need a bit of help from editing. You will need a photo-software that allows you to stack two layers of photos together, like Photoshop. Let’s go through the steps to create a photograph similar to the one below. So we’ll try to float a model + a car! Before we get into the post process, let’s make sure that the photo-session runs perfectly. Here are the steps to take:

  • set up the scene for your photoshoot, but without the model and the car. Just plain background.
  • setup the camera and the tripod. Once you are happy with your angle and composition, make sure that the camera won’t shake or wobble.
  • introduce the model and the car into the scene. Place the model on a stool, and the car on the crane.
  • take a few shots, experiment with different poses. Do not move the camera or change angles, settings, etc.

All done! It’s now time to transfer the files to the computer for processing.

Here are the steps needed to be done in Photoshop:

Take the two photos that you just took, the one with just the background, and the photo with everything in it. Drag the background photo on top of the photo with everything. Now there should be 2 layers. Align them. Lower the opacity of the top layer to around 80%. If you have setup the camera properly, the background should stay sharp, but now the model and the car appeared, along with the stool and the crane. Now comes the tricky part. Place a layer mask on the top layer, and mask out the areas on top of the car and the model, so that they appear sharp. Don’t touch the area with the stool and the crane. Zoom in closer to touch up final details. The more time you spend here, the better the effect will be.

When you are done, turn the opacity back to 100%, flatten the layer, and save. You are done! Well I hope that you have learnt something from this tutorial, and for those who have yet to try this out, I urge you to give it a go! I will leave you with some great levitation photos that hopefully will inspire you and give you great ideas to try out.


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