Black and White Photography

Black and white photography

Funnily enough, in the age of digital SLR's and highly colored computer graphics, black and white photography seems to be re-emerging as a strong trend. Many new photographers presume that all they need to do is take the shot in black and white to start with, using the onboard monochrome camera setting. If only black and white photography was that easy. Like any style of photography, it takes practise. Otherwise, you could end up with a photo that seems flat and lifeless.

Black and White Photography Tips

 1.Shoot in RAW

I know many readers of DPS can’t shoot in RAW (because their photo camera doesn’t offer it) or don’t shoot in RAW (because they either don’t know how or don’t like to) but for the most control in the post production phase of converting your color images into black and white ones – you’ll want to shoot in RAW if your photo camera does allow it. Of course shooting in JPEG doesn’t stop you shooting in black and white – but if it’s an option, give RAW a go, you might be surprised by what it offers you in post production

 2.Low ISO

Shoot with the lowest possible ISO possible. While this is something that most of us do in color photography it is particularly important when it comes to black and white where noise created by ISO can become even more obvious. If you’re after this ‘noise’ (or grain) you can always add it later in your post production – but it’s harder to go the other way and take noise out. 

3.When to Shoot 

Many digital photographers actually prefer to shoot images for Black and White in low contrast situations. So an dark or overcast day can be a great time to shoot out door shots.
Ironically these are the days that those who shoot only in color sit at home complaining about the ‘poor light’. So next time you find yourself with a dark and gloomy day – shoot some black and white shots.
Most of the general tips on how to compose or frame a good shot apply just as well to black and white photography as they do when shooting in color – however the main obvious difference is that you’re unable to use color to lead the eye into or around your shot. This means you need to train yourself to look at shapes, tones and textures in your frame as points of interest. Pay particularly attention to shadows and highlights which will become a feature of your shot

Black and  White photogpahy gallery

Gary Winogrand

Toni Frissell

Maurizio Polese

Sally Mann

Gabriele Caretti





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