A lot of people believe that good photos are those that display a wide array of beautiful colors. However, let me tell you that this is completely untrue. There are some forms of photography that are devoid of any striking colors but still come up as stunning as those that have them. Consider monochromatic, infrared and black and white photography and you’ll know what I mean.
Black and white photography is a very special form of photography. Black and white images are often described as classic, elegant and romantic in their own special way.
Shooting Black and White photos can be quite a challenge since you have to look at the world in black and white before you shoot. Needless to say, coming up with good quality B&W photos can be a challenging task since you need to thoroughly understand your subject and the effect of lighting on your subject before you can even begin to plan how you would want to compose your final image. Sounds tricky enough for you? Well, if you are serious in mastering the art of taking B&W photos, here are some tips that you should always keep in mind:
Pay special attention to your viewpoint. Always remember that your viewpoint is one of the most important considerations in shooting good quality black and white images. As such, you should already have an idea of what you want to photograph, how you would like to present it to your viewers and the angles that will bring the best results before you even click your shutter release button.
Use lighting to your advantage. Light plays a very important role in black and white photography. Since your images will be devoid of any colors, you should make sure that there is sufficient light to allow your viewers to clearly distinguish the details of your images.
You should try to understand the quality and direction of the light you are using. Keep in mind that using direct light will lend your images some sharp dark shadows while using a softer light will produce softer tones of gray.
The direction of light can also help you get the effect you want since it will affect both the depth and dimension of your images. Using front lights to illuminate your subject will emphasize texture and depth while using rear lighting will help in reducing details. Using side lights, on the other hand, will give your images a larger dimension and may add more drama to your photos.
Pay special attention to lines, shapes and textures. Without colors to draw your viewers’ attention to your images, you will have to rely on the shape, lines, patterns and textures of your subject. Using lines and shapes effectively can help draw your viewers’ eyes to your images and give your images a sense of movement and dynamism while capturing the unique textures in your subject can lend it a sense of realism.
Explore the power of patterns. Capturing images of patterns in black and white can produce some compelling images that are totally ignored when the same shot is done in color. Let’s face it – color can sometimes take your attention away from the intended subject. As such, taking colors away from your images can help your viewers focus on the more important aspects of your photos.
Shoot during overcast days. While those who prefer to shoot in color may be dismayed at days like these, shooting in black and white under low contrast conditions will definitely give you the best results you can ever imagine.
Use the right camera settings. You can capture the best black and white images by using the lowest ISO setting in your camera. This will reduce the ‘noise’ that is usually much more noticeable in B&W photos.
Do you think you can start mastering the technique of taking great black and white photos after reading these tips? Well, there is no reason why you shouldn’t. Have a look at what I’ve provided for you here – this will change your knowledge and skills of available photography techniques very quickly and regularly too.
So, take your camera out and start exploring the wonderful world of black and white photography. You will love it!
Have fun shooting in black and white,