Tips For Creating Black and White Photos
Black and white art is one of the most famous and popular styles in history. Mainly because the daguerreotype and the first video cameras could only capture monochromatic images.
Nowadays, as pretty much anyone can take pictures, we’ll give you some tips and advice so you can create the most captivating and professional pieces.
Black and White Photographs
Even though many could think that because you don’t have to worry about colors, black and white pictures are easy to take. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Without the full-color spectrum, photographers must take extra care for things such as:
- Field of depth
- Tonal contrast
- Lights and shadows
Which Are the Best Situations to Photograph?
Although you can snap a picture of whatever you want, not everything is ideal for this style.
Some things you should consider are:
You should always look for things with a high level of contrast. For example, portraits over evenly colored backgrounds; also you can look for dark nature landscapes where different very illuminated elements get cut out.
This style of images generates an interesting interplay between light and shadow, allowing each element to be distinguished in the best way.
Another interesting trick is playing with textures.
Tree logs offer visual complexity and interesting light and shadow patterns to your pictures, because of lights and shadows juxtapositioning.
Want an extra cool element for your photos? Look for water (pun intended). Reflections over moist and wet surfaces form captivating images, both in nature and urban landscapes. This leads us to another key factor.
Light is another essential element for black and white photographs. Cities usually have lots of illuminating sources that will help you come up with dazzling pictures.
We know that each picture demands specific camera configurations. However, some will apply to any photoshoot.
Lens Opening and ISO
It’s highly recommended to use a low lens opening same as ISO. This’s important because black and white pictures are characterized by having elements with clear, focused lines and little or no noise. Keep in mind that these settings may need to be adjusted depending on what lens you’re using.
Rule of Thirds
This is one of the essentials of photography in general.
It’s a ruler composed of three vertical and horizontal lines. Most digital cameras and smartphones offer the option to toggle this setting on and off.
The intersection of these lines shows you where are the natural most appealing spots of a picture. With them, you’ll be able to lead your viewers to the elements you want to highlight.
This word is key for anyone taking a black and white photograph.
It’s a visual representation of the tonal value of your picture. Ideally, your snapshot should have most of its pixels far from both white and black extremes. If this is so, your photo’s probably well balanced.
Most digital cameras and smartphones (if not all of them) offer the possibility of using black and white filters. Many also will let you do little adjustments to them.
The other way to do it is by working with different programs such as Adobe Photoshop. In case you need some help with them, we recommend this article with a selection of the best Youtube channels in terms of tutorials.
For all of you who rather take the path of Photoshop, you should always work with RAW photos. This means that you’ll keep an unmodified picture in terms of effects or configurations. In case you want to change it and personalize it, you can always start over fresh. This, in fact, is our biggest recommendation for anyone editing photographs in any style.
It takes a lot of experience to become a master of the black and white style. It’s true. However, those who achieve it can produce way more than beautiful photographs.
Black, White, and Action
There are an amazing number of iconic black and white movies. This style offers some incredible benefits for the world of films. Such as:
- Mood: although it may be a cliché, genres as drama use black and white styles to evoke sad or tragic emotions.
- Lights adjustment: when working in different locations, even lightning is fundamental. Especially if you want to shoot in natural landscapes because the sun and weather can ruin your whole day in a matter of minutes. Black and white help you forget about these kinds of troubles. When there’s no color in the background, it’s easier to make every shot look even.
- Flexibility: related to the last item, when you eliminate color issues, you eliminate all the headaches related to them. This style will let you work in different stages that don’t necessarily share the same colors because gray scales will make them look alike.
As you see, black and white art has many strong points you should consider while creating your pieces. If you want to know more about some of the biggest masters of the style, check this article.
And, in case you want to share your own tips or thoughts, leave a comment!