When I first started doing photography, I was not a huge fan of B&W ("black and white") at all. In fact, I like to use B&W as my back-up plan. If the colors are still not working out in my favor after countless trials and errors, I'll simply switch a photo to B&W mode, hoping that I'll be able to salvage it.
A lot of photographers choose to take their photos in only B&W. I've always wanted to take a photo with the B&W vision in my mind and be able to tell myself confidently "okay, this view in front of me will make a great B&W photo" instead of "oh, let me use B&W on this mediocre photo". In my opinion, I think black and white deserves more credit than simply being a photographer's back-up option.
I always associate B&W with sadness which makes it challenging for me to fully appreciate B&W (maybe because I am a generally happy and non-edgy person). My struggle with B&W photography is how to express emotions through such a limited color palette.
I decided to start off by editing at least one or two B&W photos from my set. I tend to pick photos with interesting textures or photos I want to emphasize the subject. While I still occasionally use B&W to salvage a photo with bad colors or bad light, I can also see the appeal in deliberately using B&W to edit a photo. Removing colors from a photo and turning it to B&W can stop viewers from getting distracted by the colors
The one thing that I try to avoid when editing B&W photo is making my white look too white and my black look too black. While I do edit the photo for contrast and clarity, I try to be careful in terms of highlight and shadow to avoid losing important details.
I am by no means an expert when it comes to B&W photography but here are a few things I like to keep in mind when I edit my B&W photos:
First time in Big Bear with USC Photography Club. I wasn't planning on waking up for sunrise but I was super glad I did in the end (shoutout to Trevor).
Here are some of the photos I took that morning. Enjoy!
I was really debating on whether I should decrease the foreground shadow in these two photos but I decided to keep it pretty dark for the silhouette look.
Most people were too busy taking photos on the sunrise side of the lake that they forgot about these beautiful gradients on the other side.
This photo is probably one of my favorite from the entire set because it feels just like sunrise to me. The hues in this photo just complement each other very well in my opinion. I decided to bring out the orange and blue when I was editing the photo.
PHONEOGRAPHY IS PHOTOGRAPHY? Yes.
Don't be afraid to learn something new simply because you feel like you are not good enough. Everyone starts out as a beginner and I'm a huge believer of slow progress is better than no progress. This post is dedicated to anyone out there who loves taking photos but is too afraid to consider themselves a photographer because the only camera they own is their phone camera.
I've talked to so many people who are afraid to call themselves a photographer because they don't own a DSLR or "one of those proper camera". However, over the past two years with USC Photography Club, I am lucky enough to know so many talented individuals who build amazing portfolios based on just one fixed lens or even a phone camera. It makes me rethink what it means to be a photographer and allows me to step out of my comfort zone.
So, since we're on the topic of phone cameras and what not, here is a compilation of some of my #iphoneography over the years...
Most of these were taken on an iphone 6S (some were taken on an iphone 5).
Good lighting makes a huge difference when it comes to taking photos with your phone. I tend to avoid taking any photos during nighttime because phone camera doesn't work too great under low-light condition, even if the flash is on.
Sunset is also another great time for photography in general. Personally, I like to lower the highlight when I take photos of the sky or the sunset so that the color gradients are more prominent. If my photo has some silhouette (like the ones above), I will also bump up the saturation quite a bit. However, I wouldn't recommend doing this too much if the photo has no silhouette since it can mess up the color of the entire photo.
Here are the 3 apps that I use:
Extra tips that might be useful:
I hope anyone reading this find some of the information useful! For those who own high quality camera gears, that is great. For those who don't, that is completely fine too. In the end, photography is all about being able to convey stories and feelings through photos. Best of luck to all photographers and aspiring photographers!
My first roll of film from a year ago. I haven't touched film after that at all for various reasons but I might get back to it again someday.
A mall near my house has some carnival event going on that day. This photo is heavily underexposed (weird because it was sunny outside) but I kind of like the red-- it adds a nice touch of color to the otherwise dull photo imo.
Bangkok city's traffic summed up in one single photo.
Sora Cafe (aka Bicycle Cafe)
I ordered strawberry pancakes and Hojicha latte. I'm not sure what the clear drink is-- probably some kind of flavored soda.
This right here is literally my neighbor. Yes, my house is located next to an apartment complex. That is some slice of city life for you.
Note: all these photos were taken with Rollei35 on Kodak 200 (not too sure about this) and edited for contrast
If you know me well enough, you'll know that cafes are my thing. I have a soft spot for them. To be exact, my ideal "lazy" weekend consists of checking out new cafes and collecting lifestyle shots around the city.
There are a bunch of different cafes and new openings around Bangkok so here's a small list of some of the places I've been to so far. I hope you enjoy them!
(Roast (The Commons)
One of my personal favorites because it is such a reliable option. They have a good selection of brunch and lunch options as well as desserts. My favorites: Nutella french toast and strawberry waffles with vanilla ice cream. Not only are they photogenic (and social-media worthy) but they also taste as good as they look.
Address: The Commons 335 Sukhumvit 55, Thong Lo 17 Alley
Slow Room by Room 111
The main concept here is to provide customers with a space where they can wind down and escape the busy city life (hence the name "slow room"). The cafe has no wifi/power outlet, which is a pretty rare occurrence for cafes in general. They have a decent selection of coffees (including cold brew!) and their flourless chocolate cake is a must.
Address: 399/5 Silom Soi 7 Bangrak
This place is the most photogenic "cafe" I've been to in a while. It is a modern glass cubicle with wooden frames surrounded by lush trees and flowers. The cafe boasts its organic spa products and (somewhat healthy) drinks. Personally, I'm not quite a huge fan of it. The aesthetic doesn't fit together too well in person and the space is not very practical.
Address: 9/2 Klang Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea
I visited this cozy place on a rainy afternoon and it was such a perfect combination. There are many food and drink options (mostly a fusion of Japanese-Thai) as well as many seating options. Their food are quite decent but I'd definitely recommend their crepes (note: one crepe serves about two but you might not want to share it).
Address: 53 Ekamai Soi 12,Sukhumvit Soi 63
First time trying photo manipulation!
Recently, I've been playing around quite a bit with photo manipulation. I'm not an expert when it comes to photo manipulation, but I think it's a great way to turn my favorite shots (as well as my mediocre shots) into something completely new. All photos were edited using Lightroom before they were manipulated in Photoshop. I posted two of my experiment-photos so far and some rough guidelines in case anyone is looking for any inspiration. Enjoy!
"Looking for You"
The original photo was taken at Dante's View in Death Valley. It is probably one of my favorite shots so far because it gives off such a serene vibe. I wanted to take it a step further so I figured why not add some night stars to the already beautiful sunset sky. I thought it wasn't going to work out because the two skies are quite contrasting, but the hard overlay mode on the astro layer ended up working perfectly.
"Small Beginnings, Big Dreams"
When I first saw this little girl standing against the Hong Kong skyline, I knew I had to get the shot. The walkway was packed the entire evening but just for this one moment, no one was around to block my view. Sadly, I messed up. I couldn't get the girl in focus nor the bokeh effect in the background. I wasn't happy with the end result at all but I knew the photo has some potential . My photo manipulation here is inspired by anime/video-game arts. I used a combination of pixelated and trace contour filter to achieve the end result.