Over the past few years I’ve found that some of my most favorite photographs that I’ve taken are those which have been converted to black & white. I always shoot in color, but do decide beforehand which photos I will convert to black and white. I have a photography exhibition running right now, “From Here to Home” which is a collection of 18 black & white photos. I have always been extremely interested in deriving my senses of color and leaving it up to my imagination to fill in the blanks. I love to intensely study black and white images personally, too, when viewing the works of other photographers. I’ve posted some of my favorites below from the last year, of varying subjects.
The idea of my blog is not only to show my photography and feature products, but to share my knowledge on an easy to understand (and hopefully fun!) level. In the essence of my overall goal, some tips for GREAT black and white photography!
Texture. Look for it! The best way to accentuate texture in a photo is to display it in black and white. I’m not saying that there aren’t millions of wonderfully textured color photos but it’s so much different in black and white. Shapes and silhouettes really become alive and more apparent when you rob of them of the rainbow.
Shadows & Contrast. High contrast light is best showcased in black and white. Those ugly shadows on your models face are more appealing to the eye when opposite of white instead of skin color. When I’m shooting a landscape in dull overcast light or a cloudless sky, I tend to produce the most stunning black and white images and don’t worry to much about blowing out the bright parts to properly expose my subject.
Low ISO. Shooting with a high ISO or ASA for the old schoolers, produces grain which can amp up the stylistic factor of any scene so if that’s what you are after, feel free to raise the roof. Sometimes it’s necessary when shooting in black and white to allow more light in, especially in dull lighting to increase the contrast but I tend to use the lowest ISO possible, always to get the best quality. If you are feeling iffy about the shot, take a few shots of the same scene with varying ISO settings.
Shoot in Raw. If your camera can shoot in raw, then do it. You can even switch your camera to shoot in black and white and convert to color later. The RAW data actually stores both in modern cameras. The advantage to shooting in RAW mode vs. JPG is that you have more flexibility in post processing.
Try film. You can buy a cheap film camera anywhere, and usually find B&W film on the shelf still. Shooting black and white on film is still one of my favorite ways to take pictures. Digital cameras do a great job at capturing the mid tones while film is more spot on to what you actually see.