High Contrast Black And White Street Photography

Home  »  Black And White Photography ColumnBlogger   »   High Contrast Black And White Street Photography

High contrast photography

If you’d like to keep up with Merjan and his work, you can do so by checking out his Behance profile or giving him a follow on Twitter and Flickr.

Converting to black and white in post is the first step in my workflow for this kind of image. I then tweak the tones from there. Post processing usually means playing with the contrast, highlights, shadows, blacks and whites sliders to get the look that you want. Don’t forget to straighten your images and check the edges of the frame carefully – small slithers of light or dark can really draw the eye where you do not want it to go when going for a high contrast look.

Of course, shooting in the middle of the day is also a great way of using the harsh light to create high contrast images – there won’t be prominent shadows but there will be plenty of contrast and hard edges that you can work with in post production to achieve the look that you want.

Image credits: Photographs by Mahmoud Merjan and used in accordance with Creative Commons licensing

Search out reflections for symmetry in shop windows | Haymarket, 2015

Oftentimes it’s the simplest elements that make or break a photograph, setting it apart from the rest for either better or worse. Today, we have for you a case of the former in this striking series of black and white street photos by photographer Mahmoud Merjan.

In Art of Tags shadows, contrast, Street Photography, light, silhouettes

Black and white high contrast images work well with geometric shapes, clean hard edges and clearly defined contrasting areas.  Geometric shapes can form graphic silhouettes, and can provide a ‘frame within a frame’ for your subjects.  They also work well with contrasting tones, leave interesting shadows that mirror shapes and objects and provide juxtaposition in a scene that draws the attention of your viewer. Geometric structures also tend to leave really interesting shadows which can look other-worldly in high contrast black and white.  Similarly, geometric patterns can work well in this style and add visual drama to an image.

Long shadows caused by the sun or light source coming in from an angle will elongate shadows and add them as ‘characters’ to a scene. If you are looking for this, going out in the morning or afternoon when the sun is at a low angle usually works best for high contrast black and whites.  In urban areas this does not necessarily mean sunrise or sunset as the sun may be too low to make it over buildings and other structures.  Light during this time tends to be too diffused to make crisp shadows.  I prefer winter light for these types of images as the sun tends to stay low all day, even around midday, which is often the only time I get to hit the streets (Bonus tip: forego the sandwich and use your lunch hour to shoot!). 

By blowing out the highlights in an already very bright scene, you focus a viewers attention where you want it | Barangaroo, 2015

← Review: Domke Gripper Camera StrapStreet Photography Camera Settings: Shutter priority (And Serendipity). →

Tags: behance, blackandwhite, contrast, mahmoudmerjan, perfectstrangers, street, streetphotography

One of my favourite themes to shoot is scenes with high contrast shadows and silhouettes, in black and white.  I have been shooting these types of images since I discovered the amazing work of Sydney street photographer Markus Anderson, who has shot a whole series of photos in this style (search ‘rage against the light’).  I’m also inspired by the work of the late and great Fan Ho, who also utilised this look on many of his images.  I encourage you to check these photographers out.  In the meantime, here are some tips on making high contrast street photographs, based on what I have learned so far.

I’ve written previously on the blog about shooting with intent – that is, heading out with a theme in mind and shooting images that match that theme. This provides a focus and a goal for your photography, and starts to create a body of work that perhaps one day could become an exhibition, photo story, book or a series of prints on your wall. 

These Beautiful, High-Contrast, Black & White Street Photos are a Testament to Great Composition

Understanding how to work with backlighting in order to create dark silhouttes of the shapes and subjects in your image is also important.  Stand facing the light, expose for the highlights and let the elements in shade underexpose, and use these in your composition.  If you are facing direct sun, you can block it behind an element in your scene to minimise blowing out the bright tones (highlights) completely. 

The photographs — part of an ongoing project Merjan has dubbed Perfect Strangers — use minimal, yet powerful compositions and stark contrast to bring out the beauty in the everyday objects and people we might not look twice at:

That’s it for my thoughts on an approach to shooting high contrast black and white images in street photography.  Do you have any questions or thoughts? Please be sure to leave me a comment below so I can add to and improve this post!

How to shoot high contrast black and white Street Photography

Decluttering a scene lets the shapes created by the shadows and silhouettes take centre stage in the image.  Using careful framing, seeking locations that are not too crowded, and always trying to reduce the elements in the frame to only the minimum required, can help create a high contrast image that is bold, striking and is immediately interesting to your viewers.  Assess your frame and look for elements that can be removed whilst still leaving you with a photograph that works. 

As the scene you are shooting will have lots of dark and light areas that are contrasting with each other, decisions about exposure can be tricky.  Exposing for the highlights in the scene to retain as much detail as possible is a good approach – let the blacks go black. Depending on the scene and circumstances the easiest and fastest way to do this is in Aperture Priority (Av, A) mode, using the exposure compensation dial to quickly get the right balance of light and dark tones.  Alternatively accentuating highlights can also create high contrast images with punch.  It does depend on the scene though – it is worth making many frames and assessing the results back at the computer. 

As well as accentuating geometric shape,  high contrast black and white also works with symmetry.  Symmetry can be found in many different guises on the street. Symmetry works well when it is the focus of an image, so try to draw attention to it in the frame.  When the angle of light is low, shadows appear long and symmetrical to the object that is casting them, allowing for interesting plays on form and turning everyday objects into unique shapes.  Symmetry can also be found in reflections.  Look for these in shopfronts, polished stone buildings, wet pavement and glass structures to add interest to your images.

Superior Tips These superior suggestions are that will help you look past all the essential ideas which cover most aspects of photography. The camera gear, gear and accessories are issues that assist you take better photographs. These tips are there that will help you acquire deeper information , looking at a potential message, experience or emotion you want to portray. This article helps the place and when to make use of things reminiscent of micro-contrast. Additionally the way to effectively use and place the blackest areas of the photograph in relation to the mid-tone gray areas. Your photographs will profit immensely.

How To Make an Image Black and White in Photoshop & Lightroom All cameras, aside from the Leica M Monochrom, take photos in colour. If you need a black and white picture , then you want to convert the colour to a monochrome state. There are a lot of strategies you can do this, but just a few gives you the very best high quality and tonal range. Read our article here on the best way to make a picture black and white, without dropping high quality , element or other important factors.

Put up -Processing Black and White Photography All digital editing software program for Mac, PC, smartphone or Android affords a conversion from colour to black and white. Except you took a color photograph , converted it into black and white in a non- destructive method , you can not revert it. The data is now not there. There are lots of ways to convert to black and white, some of that are non- damaging ( permits you to go back to colour in case you like) however only a few ways the place you may convert the image properly. This text tells you what you must or shouldn’t be doing to get essentially the most out of your photographs.

How you can Edit Photographs on Cellular Now that we have now seemed primarily at DSLRs, let’s flip our consideration in the direction of mobile photography. Shooting with your mobile is quick and easy , and now converting and processing your images into black and whites is no more difficult. This article exhibits you how to utilize an app to show these photographs into something actually dramatic.

The right way to Manage Pictures in Publish - Manufacturing Working with black and white photographs shouldn`t be the same as working with color – both have different focuses and want totally different areas of attention. The Black and White images can profit from colours. Including yellow into the picture utilizing a colour mixer can affect the detail within the sky. This brings out traits in an in any other case overexposed phase of the image. Also , tweaking of contrasts and highlights can have very dramatic ends in a Black and White photograph.

Issues to Contemplate When Editing Black and White Images When it comes all the way down to the enhancing of your photographs , the hardware will be simply as vital as the software you use. Your laptop monitor will have a color management system that can show your pictures differently to the colour administration of the printing. Also , where you edit the photographs can also be important , creating colour casts that change the way you see our images. You might think that black and white photos will not be affected, however they still use color info in the grey , mid-tone areas of your work. No matter you will be doing together with your images as a final product, be it a e-book or an exhibition, all of them want totally different treatments.

Learn how to Use Tonal Contrast with Images The tonal range in black and white photography is one of the most important things to focus on. The vary is mainly the degree of how shiny or how dark parts of your picture are. The larger the tonal vary , meaning the extra dark and lightweight areas there are, the more impressive the image. Although distinction works nicely in both color and black and white, the latter needs it more to face out and make a long-lasting impression.

10 Ideas for Using Luminosity Masks in Digital Mixing Luminosity masks are a function in Photoshop that helps you isolate areas of a high gentle depth within the photograph ’s pixels. With these choices , you can select areas of the photograph and solely work on particular tones, not the entire image. These are nice to assist enhance the focus and look of a specific object in your frame. This text offers you an excellent rundown, from creating the masks to the completed image.

How one can Transition From Taking to Making the Photograph Ansel Adams mentioned , “You don’t take a photograph , you make it”. This guide takes you thru many ideas. Trying on the fundamental elements , what makes an amazing photograph and how you can make it right into a remaining , polished print. Specializing in the basic concepts and continuing to determine , isolate and management the elements will assist your photographic confidence.

Learn how to Edit Black And White Photographs in Lightroom Lightroom is likely one of the finest tools on the market that will help you get the very best from your photography. It is straightforward and fast to select -up and will help with your workflow. Presets are a great way to get very spectacular images. They`re additionally fast and simple to make use of and are created by photographic fans or Adobe itself. On this article, you will get an concept of what you should be taking a look at in relation to modifying your work and the best way to achieve dramatic results.

Processing Pictures in Photoshop Compared to the ease of processing photographs in Lightroom, Photoshop is a little more difficult and requires extra studying time. This article lets you get the most effective out of your black and white image by working with color layers, filters and mixing options.

IMAGE COLLECTIONS : High Contrast Black And White Street Photography

High contrast photographyFour top tips for high contrast street photographyHigh contrast black and white was enough to render a silhouette by crushing the blacks which means to drag the blacks slider to 100 in lightroomHigh contrast black and white image374e9fcd7b4dd4e66742fe593c9752f0 27ef204c7683b027238a629eb9d86f03 cdf83b4716985fee9b3e71c26c22407e bf81aeee8bf04a98821bb543b9c7b45bHigh contrast photographyThe art of black and white street photography 09High contrast photography 4Tadashi onishi is a talented photographer based in tokyo japan he shoots amazing cinematic and high contrast black and white urban and street photography