5: Play With Value Tones
High-contrast black and white photography relies on strong black and white areas to create a sharp, contrasting effect. But not all black and white photos need high contrast to be effective. Sometimes, the key to a great black and white shot lies in its grey tones.
Your photos don’t have to contain an even mix of tones either. You can have a mostly grey subject with just a few little hints of black and white. Or you can opt for a mostly white subject with small amounts of black and grey or everything in between!
6: Go For Graphic Composition
Composition is everything when it comes to black and white photography. Your images need strong compositions to really work in black and white.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a subject that doesn’t work for black and white photography when composed with good lighting. But there are some subjects out there that rely primarily on their color for impact. Or, you’ll run into lighting conditions that you can’t alter to suit your needs. For instance, a colorful autumn scene in the park may look dull or uninteresting when converted to black and white.
To make the most of the subject you’ve chosen while avoiding the ‘dullness’ that monochrome can impose on an image, choose your composition with intent.
What does this mean? Choosing a simple composition that features straight lines or dramatic angles that lead the viewer in will help your photos stand strong in black and white. Man-made structures work really well for this, and high contrast lighting can really enhance graphic shapes and shadows.