almost eight Tips for Stunning Black and White Vacation Photography

8 Tips for Spectacular Black and White Travel Photography

tips for black and white travel photography

When we travel to new locations, our soul is stirred. We have feelings that don’t normally arise – and black and white vacation photography can be used to express these emotions.

However , creating convincing B& W travel images is about a lot more than reducing the Saturation slider. In this article, I actually share some tips on how to approach black and white shooting so you can create impactful photos that’ll stun your friends and family.

1 ) Think in black and white

Thanks to the power associated with digital photography, it’s easy to develop a black and white image: Just open up a file in your favorite post-processing program, then drop the Saturation slider to zero.

Unfortunately, whilst that method is simple , it’ll seldom give you great results. Instead, you must learn to imagine scenes in black and white before you ever push the shutter button; that way, when you finally period image into post-processing software, the results look seamless and natural.

So spend time looking at scenes while ignoring the color. See the tonal values instead. The sunshine and contrast in a scene affect how the image may render in monochrome.

Look at how light shows off surfaces. See the comparison between two objects. Think about lines and shapes and how they fit into your compositions.  

If you can learn to think in black and white, you’ll start to notice great moments for black and white travel photos. And as you begin to think within black and white more regularly, you’ll notice a huge improvement in your data files!

2 . Invest in making black and white travel photos in advance

When photographing a new destination, it is easy to shoot constantly within color – after all, colour is natural and apparent.

But if you would like to become great at monochrome travel images, you need to make the extra effort to work within black and white.

The recommendation? Before you take an one shot, have a plan in mind. Promise yourself that you’ll take a certain number of photos in black and white. Alternatively, strive for a certain percentage of B& W photos.

And when you take your monochrome photos, don’t shoot halfheartedly. Practice thinking in black and white, and photograph people, landscapes, architecture, and anything else that lends itself to monochrome.

That way, when you return house, you’ll have at least a handful of B& W photos you’re happy with!

3. Use black and white to express yourself

Black and white is a highly emotive , expressive genre of photography.

So if you want to create stunning B& W shots, why don’t use your photos to express your emotions about each location?

Whenever you bring out your own camera, ask yourself: How do I feel? And how can I communicate this feeling to anyone who might look at my photos? Share the emotions you experience when you are at a temple, in the airport terminal, or see a child begging in the streets.

Pro tip: Look for people who reflect the way you feel during the time, and include them in your compositions. You might find a busker belting out a happy melody and another singing the blues. Which one fits together with your emotions?

ancient ruins black and white travel photography

4. Include people in your travel photos

In the previous tip, I mentioned how you can enhance your black and white travel shots by capturing people who mirror your mood.

But do not stop there! Whenever you see an interesting person, photo them .

In fact , people look different when photographed in black and white. People also make a place. Including people, even when they’re other tourists, will offer you a real-life perspective on the places you visit.

close up of a shoeshine man in Turkey
Nikon D700 | 35mm | f/5 | 1/320s | ISO 400

You are able to shoot wider landscapes that include people – but occasionally a journey portrait , in which you isolate your subject, makes for a great image. I love to search for brightly lit subjects plus dark backgrounds; that way, I can create a dramatic effect:

portrait of a market vendor with fish
Nikon D800 | 50mm | f/2 | 1/250s | ISO 100

five. Photograph iconic locations with an unique perspective

We’ve all seen the particular cliché travel photos – the shots that everyone takes at the most famous locations. Go ahead and take a snapshot, too. Make sure you include those photos in your collection. But don’t stop there.

Start by thinking in black and white. Shooting iconic travel locations in black and white will render them differently, and by planning to take B& W images, you’ll already be ahead of the curve.

After that, before you capture any photos, take time to look at the shapes, outlines, light , and contrast in a picture. Consider how you can use the light, camera angle, and composition to create something new. You’ll become surprised by how often you can take one-of-a-kind photos at most popular travel spots!

Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur
Nikon D800 | 35mm | f/8 | 1/320s | ISO 200

6. Confidently adjust your camera settings

Before you press the shutter button, imagine the image you want to create. Then adjust your settings accordingly.

In some places, you’ll want to separate a subject with a shallow depth of field , so you’ll need to dial in a wide aperture setting . In other areas, you’ll wish to keep the entire scene within focus, so a narrow aperture will be key.

If you’re right after long-exposure blur effects, you’ll need to mount your camera on a tripod and sluggish your shutter way straight down. And if you’re interested in taking fast action, you’ll have to boost your shutter speed to make sure you get plenty of detail.

I’d recommend changing your camera to Manual mode . Then simply experiment with various settings. After a bit of practice, you’ll start to get the hang of guide adjustments. Pretty soon, you’ll become taking well-exposed images just like a pro.

Asian long tail boat black and white travel photography

7. Have fun with long-exposure travel shots

Long exposures are beautiful in black and white. Therefore , you should always be on the lookout for situations and scenes that feature moving elements!

For instance, you may notice interesting movement in the seaside, on a riverbank, or on a busy street. You can then place your camera on the tripod or a firm surface area, determine your composition, and reduce your shutter speed to 1/25s or beyond.

(To prevent camera shake, you’ll need to use your camera’s self-timer or a remote release . Plus make sure you turn off any camera or lens image leveling. )

Experiment with a variety of shutter speeds. Occasionally you may want to use a faster shutter speed to keep the moving elements recognizable. Other times, you may want to use an extra-long exposure to completely blur your subject.

beach in black and white with a slow shutter speed
Nikon D700 | 35mm | f/22 | 6s | ISO 100

almost eight. Shoot in RAW is to do sufficient post-processing

Most cameras let you take in both UNCOOKED and JPEG – and if you take RAW files, you can utilize far more powerful edits. (JPEGs contain less information and they are therefore less adjustable. )

That’s precisely why I highly recommend you photograph in RAW! Yes, it’ll take work to learn ways to process your black and white pictures, but at the end of the day, it’ll end up being worth it.

Then, when you come home after a pictures adventure, make sure to spend sufficient time processing your RAW files. You’ll need to convert your shots to black and white, and you should also experiment with different exposure and color adjustments.

Over time, you will develop a distinctive editing design – and you’ll have plenty of fun along the way!

temple dragon black and white travel photography
Nikon D800 | 35mm | f/7. 1 | 1/200s | ISO 200

Monochrome travel photography: final phrases

Now that you’ve finished this article, you’re ready to head out and capture some beautiful black and white travel photos!

So keep in mind the tips I’ve distributed. Practice thinking in black and white. And enjoy your travels!

What journey photography destination do you intend to photograph next? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Beach scene with two people walking in the distance
Nikon D800 | 35mm | f/9 | 1/1600s | ISO two hundred

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