Have you been thinking about doing black and white photography , but you’re not sure whether it is worth taking the plunge? Or are you simply wondering precisely why so many famous photographers have preferred black and white over colour?
You’ve arrive at the right place.
In this article, I’m going to describe what I love about monochrome photography – and why you can love B& W, as well. I’ll talk about black and white composition , disposition, and more, plus I’ll reveal plenty of examples so you can discover exactly what I mean.
By the time you’ve finished, ideally you’ll know the answer to the main element question: exactly why black and white ? And if I’ve done my job correct, you’ll be ready to start a black and white project of your.
Let’s get started.
1 . Black and white helps you see differently
If you research old photography masters for example Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, you’ll notice they photographed primarily in black and white. Today, part of this had to do with specialized limitations of the time. Until the 1930s, color photography was difficult to produce. Yet even once Kodachrome, a color movie, was invented, plenty of photographers stuck to black and white, since they preferred it to colour.
Why? One reason is that black and white gifts interesting creative problems . The world looks various in black and white, which means that you are able to think about tone, texture, plus light in new ways. In fact , when you remove color, the emphasis of an image naturally shifts to other compositional elements.
For some photographers, this can feel clearing; you’re no longer stuck considering constantly about color yet can instead focus on the greater fundamental aspects of photography: develop and light.
As you’re probably aware, not all great colour images will translate properly to black and white. But the inverse is also true: certain images that look great and black and white won’t look good in color, which means that you’ll have a whole new group of photo opportunities to contemplate.
Ultimately, this emphasis on tone and gentle over colorful hues will help you see the world differently – and may even result in a brand-new photographic style.
2 . Black and white eliminates interruptions
The world in color is great, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming .
Specifically, there are plenty of distractions that exist within color that simply disappear when transformed into black and white.
For example, a rainbow shirt in the color portrait may attract the eye, but is essentially unnoticeable in B& W. Plus a distracting red rock in the foreground of a seascape might turn a nice neutral gray following a monochrome conversion .
Plus, color itself can take away emphasis on contrast, structure, lighting, shape, and type. If you’re photographing a weathered man with a face full of wrinkles, black and white will highlight the texture of the facial lines, the intensity of the man’s age. Whereas color will simply distract the viewer and prevent them through seeing what the photo is all about.
Black and white can also eliminate distracting color casts that would otherwise subtly shift the viewer’s attention far from what matters.
3. Black and white offers increased creative choice
Since the world is in color, it is safe to state that color photography is more realistic and descriptive. The color photo depicts the planet as it really is – while black and white photos only display a version of reality, one that seems more interpretive and creative.
In a sense, this can help you break free from certain restraints. Without color, you don’t have to show the world as it is; instead, you can show that which you see, which might involve uncommon relationships, interesting shadows, lovely textures, and so on.
Ultimately, when you take away colour, you remove what your own viewer is used to viewing. Suddenly, you have to capture the particular viewer’s attention without the help of color – which does mean that you’re free to have fun, experiment, and show the world inside a completely new, creative way.
So in a way, black and white forces you to think, but it makes you more creative in the process.
4. Black and white adds emotion plus mood
Have a look at the black and white photos I have shared throughout this article. Perform they evoke mood? Perform they make you feel something?
Personally, I think black and white pictures almost always create a wonderful mood – or in cases where the feeling is already present, the B& W conversion makes it a lot more intense.
Why does black and white photography go hand in hand with moodiness? I’m not really completely sure, but something about tonal range, rich blacks, and deep comparison just appeals to us psychologically. It creates an emotional connection, and it makes you stop, browse around, and pay attention.
Of course , not all pictures need to emphasize a somber, dramatic mood. Sometimes, moodiness is not what a photographer is going for, and that’s okay.
But in cases where moodiness can enhance the shot, try shooting in black and white.
5. Black and white photography feels timeless
Here’s a common reasons why photographers shoot in black and white:
It adds a timelessness to your pictures.
For one, monochrome photography has existed because the beginnings of photography, meaning that a black and white image are unable to instantly be dated. Also, color schemes change over time, specially in clothing, business logos, vehicles, and architecture. Therefore , a color image will often consist of datable elements – however in black and white, these features may be much harder to place.
Personally, I feel that will black and white photos seem to transcend reality. Look at the image below. Can you tell when it has been taken? Is it a recent photo? Is it from 50 years ago? Or does it exist outside of time?
That’s the power of black and white!
Bonus tip: Use your camera to see the planet in black and white
For black and white beginners, one particular skill is more difficult compared to all the rest:
Seeing in black and white. In other words, many newbie black and white shooters struggle to think about the world of color translated in to a monochromatic photo.
This is a problem, because if you don’t know how a picture will look when photographed, you might miss outstanding opportunities (and many of the photos that you do take won’t look so great).
In the days of film, you had to build up your ability to see in black and white through trial and error. You’d take a handful of shots, send in the film for processing, see how the images turned out, and repeat.
But thanks to modern electronic viewfinder technologies , you can literally see in monochrome. Simply switch your digital camera over to its monochromatic mode, then watch as the entire world is transformed into blacks, white wines, and grays.
If you don’t have an electronic viewfinder, that’s okay, too; you are able to use Live View to find the world in black and white, you can also use the LCD preview to check on your photos.
So the next time you’re out there shooting, try it! I assure it’ll make things easier.
Note: If you shoot in
Why picture in black and white: final phrases
Now that you’ve finished this article, you’re hopefully convinced that black and white will be worth trying.
To get started, switch your camera over to its Monochrome mode. Spend time experimenting with black and white. Learn to notice with new eyes!
Now over to you:
What do you think about black and white photography? Would you like it? Do you think you’ll try it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!