6 Quick Tips for Stunning Black and White photography

Black and white photo of the steps

Black and white photos have an appealing look. The timeless quality, as well as striking look these photos create, makes them a must-have in every photographer gallery.

However, despite them looking timeless and stunning when shot right, most photographers do not know how to create outstanding black and white shots.

In this quick guide, we will discuss tips for taking amazing black and white photos.

Put more focus on shapes and composition

Black and white photography, person on the steps, shadows

As much as colored photos may look attractive, the aspect of color is a distraction in itself. This is why black and white photos are better when you want to emphasis a certain subject. Without color, the viewer will be able to focus on crucial aspects of the photo, such as shapes, patterns, composition, and texture.

If your object has no color, the only way to recognize it is by analyzing its composition and shape. Shapes simplify and anchor a photograph. Some shots are admired by people all the year-long simply because they contain a river or mountain with a pleasing shape. Therefore, consider balancing shapes of the elements in your composition for your black and white photo to make sense and stand out.

Therefore, when taking black and white shots, focus on improving the composition of your photo, such as following the rule of thirds as well as capturing features in their full shapes.

Look for shadows, textures, patterns, and lines

Black and white photography, lines in composition

If you are looking to create a collection of black and white photos, look out for subjects with shadows, texture, patterns, and lines. Of course, as a photographer, you should look out for such things, but it is more important to train your eye to look out for them if you are creating a collection of black and white photography.

For example, photograph building, a tree, or a person with casting shadows. You can do this during morning or evening hours when the shadows are long. These are known as ‘Golden Hours,” and it is a great time for you to look for tall buildings and trees that are casting lengthy shadows.

In addition, look for interesting textures such as a coarse road or a brick wall. Photograph buildings that have repeating patterns in close proximity. Barks of trees, fabric textiles, or old wooden doors are also other subjects with a texture that you can photograph in black and white.

Look out for gray weather

Black and white landscape

Winter offers a great time to take black and white photos. A colored photo taken in winter on an overcast day will look quite similar to one taken in black and white. This is because of the gray skies, white snow covering the ground, and barren trees- most of these are features of a black and white photo.

This means that on an overcast day during winter, most of the work regarding color is already set. The colorless quality of the environment during this time should inspire you to take black and white photos.

Shoot in color and convert to black and white

The default setting on your camera is always shooting in color. This means that it retains most of the original natural colors of shots. With the original colored version of your image, you can then convert it to black and white during post-processing and editing. In most cases, converting a colored image into black and white is very easy.

However, for those who see this as a lot of work, consider setting your camera to shoot in black and white, or in monochromatic mode. Also, ensure to shoot in RAW mode so as to get the highest image quality.

Monitor tones in your images (dark and light)

Tone, in this case, means the underlying darkness, brightness, and shades of gray in an image. They are the backbone of black and white photography.

Although most photos are neither bright nor dark, you still need to pay attention to tones when taking your shots. This is because tones affect the mood in your photos. Darker black and white images are more foreboding and mysterious, while lighter ones demonstrate a happy and ethereal mood.

A tiny variation in the tones can swing emotions in a photo significantly. Use tones deliberately to harmonize the character of the subject you are showcasing and tell its story.

Bottom Line

Black and white photography can be challenging art to master since you have to create sensible, timeless photos that show emotions, patterns, shapes, texture, composition, or tones. However, if you train your eyes to see in black and white, you can quickly master the art of taking great black and white photos.

Posted in: Photography for beginners