Black And White Photography For Beginners

December 14, 2018 7:03 am by columnblogger
Such beautiful imagery in the reflection black and white photography really has a classic appeal
Scorhill stone circle bw
Black And White Photography For Beginners

Apart from shapes, the photographers also need to focus on structures that are perfect when the subjects are hair, sand, skin or wood. It’s necessary to ensure that the photographer doesn’t add too much of a contrast in photos. The best way to attract attention to the subject is to remove color and harsh contrast. A photographer who has an interest in black and white photography needs to experiment with monochromatic colors and think unique ways of shooting.

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Before digital photography the only way to work in black and white was to use black and white film. Thankfully, now it’s much easier to work in black and white, just by switching your camera to Monochrome Mode (check your camera’s manual if you are unsure how to do so, look for Picture Styles settings).

Applying the Red filter setting makes the blue sky go much darker, creating a much more dramatic version of the same scene.

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The answer is no, definitely not. In the photography world, black and white is considered an art form. Some would even say only the best photographers work in monochrome. It’s a medium with a rich history, (look at the work of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston or Henri Cartier-Bresson for examples) and a bright future.

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Using black and white photography is a great way to create eyecatching images. The best black and white photographs are planned that way from the beginning, not created in an attempt to rescue a bad colour photo. 

The photographers will be able to view the black-and-white conversion on the camera’s display when shooting in RAW format. The black-and-white photos displayed on the camera’s screen give photographers a preview of the way the black-and-white version would look.

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The model was standing in the shade when I took this photo. The light lacks contrast, and the black and white photo is flat.

It can be difficult to think in black and white to start with, but once you get your eye in you will start noticing images everywhere that would look better with no colour. Many cameras have a setting that will let you view a scene in black and white through the viewfinder, but it will still take a colour photograph when you press the shutter. This is a great way of getting the best of both worlds.

In today’s digital world, most people prefer full color photographs while black-and-white photography is considered a thing of the past. However, there are many photographers who opt for monochromatic images. Such black-and-white images have the ability to display simple, raw emotions of the people and beautiful landscapes that can’t be shown through color photos.

In this colour image for example, the eye is drawn to the green splashes of colour which detract from the overall composition. It is much stronger in black and white:

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My ebook Mastering Lightroom: Book Three – Black & White goes into the topic of black and white in depth. It explains everything you need to know to make dramatic and beautiful monochrome conversions in Lightroom, including how to use the most popular black and white plug-ins. Click the link to visit my website and learn more.

Just as importantly, working in black and white can help you become a better photographer. How? It’s all to do with composition.

Black and white portraits emphasize expression and quality of light.

Black And White Photography – What Subjects … 12 years ago

Once in monochrome mode you will see some extra options. They help you set your camera up to produce the best results. Again, check your manual if you are not sure where to find them.

There are some photographers who like to click images and convert them into black-and-white photos in the post-production phase. There’s nothing wrong with this procedure; it’s just that it is time consuming. So, instead of converting the photos into black and white later, wouldn’t it be better to shoot photos in black and white in the first place?

Even though the grainy film look is mostly used in black-and-white photography, it is best to stick to the lowest possible ISO setting for taking photos. Most photographers think it is better to add the grainy look in post production. Earlier, photographers used to add this grainy look to their photos by using high ISO films on their instant cameras.

Naturally, there are certain subjects that tend to work better than others in black and white; two in particular are landscapes and portraits. If this is your first time shooting in black and white, then these are great subjects to try out.

My favourite phone apps for black and white photography are Provoke, and Enlight. Android users should try Snapseed.

Colour is very powerful, and tends to dominate the photo so much that it’s difficult to see other elements like tonal contrast, texture, shape, form and quality of light. Experienced photographers instinctively see these things, regardless of whether they work predominantly in colour or black and white. But if you’re just starting out, you may need some assistance to do so, and working in black and white photography will help you.

This will help in determining the ideal manner in which that subject needs to be captured. This might also help the photographer capture the subject in a different angle that he had not thought of earlier. The basic idea is to get into the black-and-white headspace that can help in choosing an entirely different way to shoot a particular subject.

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If colour is critical to the image – to the subject, to the mood or to the composition – then don’t try and force that image into black and white. This image works well enough as a textured black and white image, but because the green and pink hues are the same tone in a black and white photograph, the impact of the colour contrast is lost:

Most of the digital and instant-photo cameras available, these days, have a black-and-white preset. This feature can be used to take photos directly in black-and-white. It is preferable to shoot in the camera’s RAW format and use the black-and-white preset. RAW format provides photographers with increased control over the final photograph.

Shooting in high ISO generates image noise, so it is preferable to shoot in the lowest ISO setting. It’s preferable to get a sharp shot with slight noise rather than a noiseless shot in which the subject is a blur.

Black and white emphasizes the textures of the rocks and sea in this landscape photo.

The colour filter settings are left over from the days of film photography. Photographers would buy coloured filters, and use them to alter the tones in black and white photos. For example, if your scene includes a blue sky, then using a yellow filter will make the sky a little darker, an orange filter makes it even darker, and a red filter darker still.

Shoot RAW if you plan to try black and white conversions – you will have much more depth of data to play with. Read this post if you want help with RAW: What Is RAW And Why Do You Need It?

When it comes to landscape photography, it is considered best to shoot at dawn or dusk. In short, when the sun is low and the light is even and soft. However, it is just the opposite for black-and-white photography. In order to create better black-and-white photos, it would be best to take photos during the middle of the day.

In this post I run through a few do’s and don’ts for beginner photographers wanting to create stunning black and white images.

Usually at this point I advise you to use the Raw format. In the long run it’s easier than using JPEG, and gives you better image quality. But I appreciate that if you’re new to photography you may still be working exclusively in JPEG. The rest of this article works on this basis.

There is also a place for green filters, which can bring out more detail in green subjects like leafy forests. Those four coloured filters (red, orange, yellow and green) have made their way onto most digital cameras as black and white settings.

During this time, heavier shadows are created that help in emphasizing the lines and shapes in the composition. Another way would be to click photos when directly looking towards the sun. This produces excellent shapes of the trees, windmills and other such strong shapes against the sky.

Most modern cameras let you change the aspect ratio. The reasons why you might want to do that are a little complex, but the main one is that it lets you shoot in the square format, something you may already be used to if you use an app like Instagram on your smartphone. If your camera has an electronic viewfinder, it will display a square image for you, making composition much easier.

The image should be defined by the overall composition, the interaction between the elements, the play of light, or a strong graphic presence – not by the subject itself. 

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Black-and-white pictures look their best when they are shot informally by a photographic artist. With a specific end goal to improve the nature of these types of photographs, there are some actionable steps any expert or novice, photographic artist could utilize while snapping their subjects.

It is necessary to view the world in monochromatic colors for pulling off amazing, black-and-white photography. Once a photographer trains himself to see in black and white, it becomes easier to pick out situations that are suitable for black-and-white photography. It is preferable to imagine the subject in black and white before taking a shot. The photographer needs to look at the subject in terms of shadows and contrasts, lines and shapes.

Subjects that make great black and white photos are those that are defined by their shape, form or texture:

Usually, shadows are used in black-and-white photography to define shapes and details. There is a possibility that lighting may hamper the quality of the image. In nature photography, it is essential to shoot black-and-white photographs in a different way as opposed to the one used for color photos.

Shapes tend to cast shadows that highlight the shape of the subject. The lighting around the subject plays a big role in how the shadows show it. There is a possibility that an abundance of color can cause beautiful shapes to vanish. This is where black-and-white photography comes into the picture, as it can help in emphasizing these forms.

Black and white is a beautiful medium to work in, one which you will appreciate the more you practice. In the meantime – have fun and enjoy yourself. You are following a path trodden by some of the most famous names in photography. And of course, if you have any questions about working in black and white, please let us know in the comments.

This scene works quite well in black and white, but it’s not nearly as dramatic as it could be.

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Finally, you may have the option to tone your images. To be honest, unless your camera lets you apply toning affects subtly, I wouldn’t bother with these, as the effect is usually too strong.

The soft light during such days gives silky, smooth transitions on the subjects. This serves as the perfect shooting conditions for the use of digital or instant cameras for taking some excellent, black-and-white photos.

The traditional advice is to avoid including white or grey skies in your black and white landscape photography, but if you plan the shot well, you can incorporate the blank canvas and create strong images:

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If you take a photo in flat light (for example, a portrait of somebody standing in the shade) the photo may look flat (two dimensional). So, you need to compensate by increasing the contrast. You can either do this in Photoshop or Lightroom after the photo has been taken, or you can do it in-camera with the contrast setting.

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Black-and-white photographs emphasize qualities like light and shadow, pattern and texture. Shooting such monochromatic images is an art that requires more attention to equipment, process, composition, tonality and lighting. Let’s check out some of the necessary techniques to create striking monochromatic images through digital or instant-photo cameras.

If you have Lightroom, these 2 videos from Adobe show you first, how to convert to black and white in Lightroom, and second, how to add colour toning to your black and white images:

The dull, gray winter days are the best, natural-shooting conditions for capturing great-quality, black-and-white photos.

If you’ve never tried black and white photography before, you may be wondering what the appeal is. After all, isn’t it a little like black and white television or silent movies – an anachronism in our modern, high-tech age?

Cameras with electronic viewfinders automatically display the image in black and white, helping you see how the image will look, before you press the shutter. If you have a digital SLR you will get the same effect in Live View. This may be useful if you are working with your camera on a tripod (for instance, taking a landscape photo).

Cropping to the square format emphasizes the shapes of the three pots.

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The free online editor Polarr lets you do fine-tuned black and white conversions. This tutorial runs you through the steps.

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