Tips For Stunning Black & White Photography
1: Look Beyond Colors
When it comes to shooting in black and white, learning how to ‘see’ how you’d like your final image to look is a great skill to work on.
Seeing in black and white (or monochromatic) can help you determine where your viewer’s eye will be drawn and help you visualize the shapes, textures, light, and movement there will be in an image.
To really get a captivating shot, you need to look beyond the colors in a scene and try to imagine how things would be perceived in greyscale. Is your subject a significantly different value (lighter or darker in tone) than the background? Is your focal point and area with a highlight and dark contrast?
Asking yourself these questions will help you create better images in black and white. It may take some practice, so don’t worry if your first black and white shoots don’t work out the way you had hoped. You can also try converting some of your existing images into black and white to see what works and what doesn’t.
2: Select Good Subjects
As with color forms of photography, your subjects play a key role in the success of your images. Even more so with black and white photography, your subjects can make or break your shot.
If you’re working in digital instead of monochrome film, then removing the color from your images can completely change their effect. Removing color effectively removes an element that viewers use to interpret a scene, so the other elements in your image become even more important.
So, what do you look for when choosing a subject to shoot in black and white? There are several common elements to choose from, and they can be mixed and matched depending on your preferences and style of photography. These are:
- Forms and Shapes
- Textures and Detail
- Light and Shadow
- Lines or Elements that draw/direct the eye
You want your subject, or the focal point of your image, to stand out from the background and capture the eye in one way or another. By playing with contrasts, you can create this effect stunningly.