These tips will help you be able to recognize good black and white photo opportunities and to be able to photograph and edit them for the best results.
Black and white photography is an excellent way to train the eye to recognize remarkable photo composition which is why so many photography courses and schools teach black and white early on.
As amazingly beautiful as a colorful sky may be, it is the lines, shapes and curves that move the eye through the photo. So while the colors can be quite beautiful, black and white makes the photo more dynamic.
Despite all of its benefits, black and white photography became less popular in the 70’s and 80’s because of the popularity of color. It soon became difficult to find places to process black and white film, and stores didn’t always carry it. Now thanks to digital cameras and editing, black and white is back!
How to Recognize Great Black and White Pictures
Although choosing the best subjects for black and white is very subjective, many professional photographers will agree that the following types of compositions beg for black and white:
* Photos that convey strong emotion. Often times, color can be a distraction whereas black and white makes the emotion or feeling seem more strong. * Images lacking a full spectrum of colors; for example, a city scape or Ansel Adam’s Yosemite “Moon and Half Dome.” * Low contrast images such as photographs shot on dark overcast days. * Any subject with the lines, contours, shadows and curves that you just know will look great in black and white. How do you know? By getting familiar with a variety of black and white images! Search online for Ansel Adams work. Or search for “famous black and photos.” * Look at B&W photography books at the library. There are lots of places to appreciate and learn this unique art form!
Create Black & White Photography with a Photo Editor
Once you see a subject and know it would like best in black and white, then you can always set your camera to B&W and take it. But once you get experience with using your photo editing software, you’ll find that you can create even better black and white images by shooting in color first and then desaturating it in the editor. Another added benefit to this method is that you’ll never accidentally take a day’s worth of pictures in black and white because you forgot to reset the camera!
Check Your Camera’s White Balance
While the easiest and simplest way to use your photo editor to change a color image to black and white is to desaturate the colors, this method doesn’t allow you to control how the primary colors work together to produce a grayscale brightness. If you have good white balance in your picture, then simple desaturation may be all you need to do in the software editor.
Make Sure to Use Your Photo Editing Software’s Color Swatches
By using a photo editor, you can also apply color swatches. Even though there are no colorful tones in black and whites, there are still tones created by colors. Color swatches work a lot like the way color lenses work on a SLR camera. For instance, camera filters in the yellow to orange range look great with skin tones while green adds wonderful natural tones to outdoors pictures.
And last but not least, don’t forget to share your favorite black and white photographs. Beautiful black and white photos deserve to be framed for all to see. You should select picture frames that showcase your image with simple clean lines rather than distract from it. Hopefully, this article has inspired you to take more black and white photographs!