The art of black and white photography is one way of romanticizing the mundane and ordinary. The contrast between light and shadows can provide so much depth to this art that color becomes completely unnecessary for conveying mood or emotion.
If you want to capture compelling black and white photographs, develop a keen eye for good subjects.
Tips in selecting a good subject
• The rules of composition that you’ve always used in capturing full-color photos still applies to black and white photography. Since you won’t need your subjects’ colors to attract an audience, think about contrast when you are composing your photographs. Look around for patterns, lines, shadows, and shapes.
• Texture brings life to your photographs. Look for interesting designs and details around you – clouds, rocks, waves, etc. With good lighting, the minute details that are often overlooked in colored landscape photography will stand out in black and white.
• Capture emotion. Black and white photography allows your audience to bypass the typical distractions that instantly draws attention. In this art form, you can look at people without ever taking into account their choice of clothes, or the color of their eyes, their hair or their skin. Instead, your audience can focus on what your subjects are conveying. Through your photographs, you can let your audience connect with your subjects.
Candy Cigarette by Sally Mann. Photo source: artblart
Vintage black and white films have set the bar for black and white art. The subtlety of these timeless classics is the reason why black and white photography remains well-appreciated and loved in this multicolored era. The digital age has provided artists with easier means to capture black and white photographs. Cameras have a built-in feature that allows users to shoot in black and white right then and there. Despite the effortlessness that it advertises, it’s best if you ignore this feature, especially if you intend to take photography seriously.
Black and White Photography Techniques
- Shoot in RAW mode (if you can). Not all cameras can support this format. If your camera does, then give this a go. When you use this mode, you will have better control over the black and white conversion of your photographs.
- If you can’t take photographs in RAW mode, then capture colored photographs, and convert it later using good editing software.
- Shoot with a low ISO. When it comes to taking black and white photographs, dial down your ISO to avoid the grain. The noise won’t look as attractive as you think. The digital grain you will get from shooting with higher ISO levels won’t really produce that vintage look. If you insist on having that grain, edit your photograph and add that in.
Remember the basics of black and white photography. Keep on practicing, and along the way, start developing your own rules and your own style.
P.S When you’ve found your comfort zone, think about establishing and growing a photography business. Click here if you want to become a force to be reckoned with in the field of photography.