4 Little-Known Factors That Affect Your Black and White Photography


black and white photographySome may view black and white photography as the “old fashioned” kind of photography. However, black and white photography is just as valid in modern photography and a unique art form all its own.

In fact, the right image in black and white can be stunning and far more powerful than the same image in color. The absence of color can make the image less cluttered and there is less to distract the viewer. A skillful photographer can use black and white photography to draw the eye right where they want it to go.

Keep reading to learn more about what to look for in your compositions and how to make your black and white photos pop.

  1. A Colorful Scene

Though it may seem counterintuitive, you should look for a colorful scene to shoot in black and white. The reason is that the wide range of colors will help ensure plenty of tonal contrast once the color is removed.

This option will not always be the case, but it is a good place to start. Look for scenes that contain many different color hues. When you remove the color, each hue will fall at a different point on the grayscale.

Once you get the photo into post-processing, you can play with color sliders to adjust the contrast and create more of an impact in the photo.

  1. Color and RAW

Most cameras give you the option of shooting black and white images. For the best images, you really should not use this option.

Instead, shoot in color and shoot in RAW format. RAW gives you much more flexibility in post-processing. All the information in a scene is recorded and stored and you can adjust most things. You can lighten shadows and even bring back blown highlights (within reason, of course).

  1. Clean Whites and Blacks

If you want your black and white photos to pop, you need cleans whites and clean blacks somewhere in the image. If your entire image is made up of shades of gray, the image can look muddy.

Even just a small amount of clean white and clean black will make a huge difference. If you feel like your black and white photos could use some more zing, this option may be the way to do it.

Even if your original photo does not have both clean blacks and whites, you can often create/add them in post-processing. That is the advantage of shooting in RAW. Do not be afraid to experiment and see what can happen!

  1. The Right Exposure

Exposure can also have an impact on your black and white photos. Start thinking about how a scene would look underexposed and turned to black and white. This option can be hard to wrap your mind around at first but will come with practice.

Think about a bright scene, like a cool cloud formation on a sunny day. Now imagine photographing it in color. Accentuating that cloud may be difficult. However, if you underexpose and turn the photo into black and white, that cloud can make an impressive impact.

Long exposure also works well with black and white photos. Keep in mind that you may need a neutral density filter to darken the scene so nothing gets blown out.

Go Do Amazing Black and White Photography

Now get out there and start shooting. Apply these black and white photography tips and tricks and see what kind of amazing art you can create.

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