Leica Cameras - How to take beautiful black and white photos
Using the right camera settings can help you take beautiful, detailed black and white photos with your Leica. A few tips are to increase the contrast, adjust the blacks and whites, but also all tones in between in a manner that no detail is being lost. Here’s how!
8 tips on taking black and white photos with your Leica camera
1. Use a fast prime lens. A fast prime is your best friend if you’re looking for exceptional quality in your images; they are much sharper than zoom lenses, so use them if you want to capture details clearly. Fast primes also give you shallow depth of field which is great for isolating subjects, leading lines and creating flattering portraits. 2. Capture important details with live view If there are particular details in your scene that you want to capture then use Leica's Live View function on the back of your camera (or through an external monitor) so that it appears as large as possible on screen. This will help when focusing manually! 3. As photographers we always talk about using texture as another way to express contrast. For example, have you ever noticed how amazing certain parts of old buildings look? The light bounces off all those crevices, creating different tonal values throughout each crack or crevice, while some parts remain dark and still maintain a shadow-like feel to them. These can make great points of interest within an image because their unique textures attract attention without drawing away from your subject matter 4. Shoot in low light Low light situations can be tricky but shooting in available light can really add character to an image if done right. Keep in mind where your light sources are coming from before setting up your shot, otherwise you might end up underexposing shots by accident. 5. Learn to expose correctly When photographing a subject, consider what’s going on around it – especially background elements like foliage or even people walking by – and try not to let these elements distract too much from your main subject. It might be worth considering where you position yourself relative to these elements when composing your shot as well 6. Try to use as small an aperture value as possible while maintaining your desired depth of field. In other words, don't just set your aperture at f/8 or f/11 because everyone else does—try something more extreme like f/1.4 or f/16 instead. This creates more bokeh in the background which can really enhance and simplify portrait compositions 7. Set ISO sensitivity: ISO sensitivity refers to how sensitive a digital sensor is to light at any given time, so increasing it means more information gets captured in darker scenes 8. Shoot monochrome rather than colour if you want pure blacks Blacks aren't actually black unless you're shooting monochrome – something many people don't realise
Black and White Setting Tricks
As noted above, Leica cameras offer a number of options for you to play with when shooting in black and white. This is especially true if you want to shoot without in-camera filters, which were commonly used before digital photography became popular. But don’t get caught up on doing it one way; experiment with your settings so that you can find what works best for you. The most important thing is that you can manipulate your images later on so there are no hard rules here. For example, if you have a photo that looks great as-is but seems too dark or light, use some post-processing techniques to fix those issues. You might also try using a different lens or film stock—different lenses have different kinds of contrast and grain (film stocks do too), so trying something new might give you an entirely new look!
There are two ways you can go about shooting black-and-white film: You can adjust your settings manually, or you can use one of Leica’s many preset modes. Personally, I find that shooting in A mode and then adjusting contrast with a bit of manual tweaking yields a more pleasing result. But there are other options, too . Leica cameras come with several different presets for black-and-white photography, including high key (bright whites and dark blacks), low key (dark whites and light blacks), sepia tone (brownish hues) and monochrome (greenish hues). If you want to experiment with these presets—or if you don’t have time to fuss around with manual adjustments—you can start snapping away right away.
Know your Subject
With a classic rangefinder, or any camera for that matter, it’s important to become familiar with its limitations so you can use them creatively. A Leica M has a fixed lens (you cannot swap out lenses), an f/2.8 aperture, limited ISO options (100-400) and no automatic shutter speed (1/2000th). Sounds limiting, right? Not so fast: these features can be used in your favor if you know how. For example, because of its small sensor size, a Leica is less prone to camera shake than larger cameras with longer lenses—this allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds (such as 1/15th of a second) even when handholding. The shallow depth of field from an f/2.8 aperture also means that you can create more artistic shots by focusing on one part of your image while blurring everything else out of focus—all without having to change your lens!
Learn from more Experienced Photographers
Meet with more experienced photographers. Ask them about their experience shooting black and white, what kind of cameras they prefer for that kind of photography, etc. In a situation like that you will learn more about Leica camera settings for black and white photography in a short amount of time than you could ever hope to find on your own online. Also ask them if they have any specific locations in mind where you might try taking some pictures. Finally, ask them if they would be willing to help you out by looking at your work once you’ve taken it and offer advice or suggestions. They may even be willing to give you an idea of how much it would cost for them to hire someone like yourself as an assistant photographer.
Understand Light and Shadow
For a Leica camera, there are three basic settings that must be adjusted in order to capture perfect black and white photos: aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. The exposure compensation setting may cause some confusion because it refers to how much of an effect an adjustment in overall light or darkness has on your photo. For example, with negative exposure compensation (-1) you darken a photo by one stop; when using positive exposure compensation (+1), you brighten it by one stop.
Leica cameras are known for capturing high quality, detailed shots. If you’re interested in purchasing a Leica, or if you already own one, there are a few things you should know about how to best adjust settings for certain environments. The Causeway Bay area is a popular Hong Kong destination not only because of its shopping malls but also because of its scenic view of Victoria Harbour. It’s easy to get distracted by all of the surrounding shops and restaurants, but when it comes time to snap a photo with your Leica camera, you want to be sure that your photo will be as crisp as possible. Here are some tips on how to maintain composure when taking pictures in Causeway Bay
Choose the Perfect Location
In order to get great B&W shots, you need to make sure that your location is able to provide enough contrast between shadows and highlights. Look for a location that has plenty of concrete or wood surfaces, which will allow you to play with contrasts. Try going into a place like
in Hong Kong where there are plenty of great photo opportunities; however, I would suggest avoiding places like Mong Kok or Tsim Sha Tsui because it can be too crowded. If you do not have access to an area like Causeway Bay, consider using a site like Flickr to find other photographers who have taken similar shots at different locations. You can then try these out on your own camera and see if they work well for you. Alternatively, you could also just shoot in RAW format so that later on when editing, you could always adjust any exposure problems with some software tools such as Lightroom or Photoshop.
Share your Knowledge
Black-and-white photography is a fine art that has stood on its own merits for centuries. That being said, there are times when it’s a good idea to give your photo just a little bit of color! The Causeway Bay neighbourhood in Hong Kong is an especially stunning sight; with all of its glass skyscrapers, it makes for one magnificent cityscape in color. But what if you want to capture it in black and white? In order to do so, you’ll need to make sure that your camera settings are adjusted properly before you begin snapping away.