Last Updated on January 13, 2019
Black and white photography still manages to stay relevant even in an age where colored photographs are so much easier to make. There is a particular draw to monochrome that still makes it a g0-to technique for many photographers in modern times. It allows viewers to concentrate on the details because there’s nothing else distracting them. Plus, a number of the most iconic shots in history have been taken in black and white.
A lot of pictures, be it portraits, street scenes, or weddings, have been shot sans color. Shooting images in black and white have become weekly themes in photography challenges (black and white portraits, black and white architecture, and so on); some photographers even go as far as challenge themselves to shoot monochrome for an entire month.
If you want to get started or get better at it, there’s no better time than now. Here’s a black and white photography tutorial to help you out:
Shooting in Black and White or Converting in Post?
Many cameras these days provide an option for you to shoot without color. This choice is agreeable if you don’t have photo editing software or dislike the notion of post-production. Then again, even smartphones now have apps that offer to convert your colored photos to black and white.
So which is the best option?
The truth is it all depends on you. There are those who will argue that setting your camera to monochrome mode stimulates your creativity because you’re looking at a scene in color but are thinking of how it would translate in black and white before even hitting the trigger.
On the other hand, some would also argue that shooting in color is still best because you retain all the detail. In short, you can still work a miracle in post, plus you have the added benefit of keeping the original colored image.
What does this mean for you then? This means trying out what works best for you. Try shooting in color then converting (there are lots of free tools these days) then give monochrome mode a go. See what you like best then go with it.
Look for contrast
Black and white images fall flat if there are no contrasting elements. For instance, you can take a photo of a building on a bright day. There is a difference in tone between the elements of your photo.
Texture also matters. For example, a huge wave crashing into a rock or a huge cliff. Water doesn’t have to be moving either, a still pool works as well.
Be inspired by the work of others
Not everyone will recommend this because it can bring up serious cases of envy. Why can’t I shoot like that? Why can’t I have the gear they’re using?
You need to be inspired, not try to imitate what you have seen. Looking at the work of others can give you good ideas, from their use of light to the kind of subject they choose.
Black and white photography is still relevant because it allows us to look closer and really see, and hopefully the advice presented here can help you out.