And now for Black & White Photography, 7 TIPS

7 Tips to Improve black and White Photography

Now it is time to talk about black and white photography and how get we that nice looking photo.  I will pass on what I was taught in this article with what I personally consider the most important first.

Lovely tones in black and white showing clean lines and curves.

Lovely tones in black and white showing clean lines and curves.

Black and white photography has a huge amount to offer the viewer.  The colours are gone, no distracting objects defined by a colour.  Instead, we are left with an image composed of shapes, tones, contrasts, textures, and patterns which now offer a completely new way of seeing this photo.  My previous articles about lighting, composition with lines and exposure will now become a little more important.  With the absence of colour, we need something else that the eye is drawn to.

A strong contrast with powerful leading lines in the black and white photo.

A strong contrast with powerful leading lines in the black and white photo.

TIPS on black and White Photography

  • Set your camera to shoot in RAW if possible.  This gives software like Lightroom a greater breathing space to make changes.  Adobe Lightroom can deal with RAW files perfectly ok.
  • Carry on shooting in colour.  You may decide you want a colour version as well.  Besides, removing colour is easy but adding colour is not.
  • Contrast.  Look for photo opportunities that give a good contrast between the object and background.  Without this separation of contrasts, the photo will look like a big expanse of grey.
  • Lighting.  A good source of light will bring out that contrast.  Try an experiment where you shine a light on a piece of fruit in a dark room, see the way the light fades off around the edges.
  • Textures.  The way light hits a surface gives an uneven looking shape because of the subtle changes in the tones.  Black and white photography is particularly good at picking this up.
  • Lines, Curves, Shapes, and Form We discussed at depth about line and curves and the fact that everything is made up of this group of things.  If we find a good place for a photo that has strong lines, curves, and shapes, these photos when converted to greyscale will look awesome.
  • Try and visualize in Black and White.  Imagine all the colour gone, so that all that is left are the lines, the contrasting light, and those tones.
Textures in black and white.

Textures in black and white.

SUMMARY

To produce great photos, whether colour or Black and White, you do not need thousands of pounds of expensive equipment, all the photography knowledge on the planet or even a DSLR.  It is however handy to have something money can not buy, a creative streak and an eye for detail.  This takes time and patience.  Remember, a top of the range camera with expensive lenses and a big ego does not make a photographer, the person makes the camera.  And I have seen plenty of examples of photographs taken by people who have the best kit and all the chat and still, a snappy pic.  On the other hand, I have seen a 12-year-old with a smartphone produce amazing, creative and original photos.  Money can not buy everything.  So stick with it, take lots of photos and experiment.

Quote of the millennium.

“When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.”

Anonymous

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18 Comments

  1. Stephanie Merry February 8, 2018
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