Black and White Photography
When colored photos became the norm, black and white photography was initially considered bland and old-fashioned. After all, why would one limit themselves to varying shades of gray when they had the entire color spectrum at their disposal?
Yet, monochromatic photos eventually made a strong resurgence. That’s because, in many instances, these photos look even more captivating and stunning than their color equivalent. Color can be a distraction from the core story a photo tells us. Removing it helps draw the viewer’s focus on the subject and emotion of the image.
Black and white photos can deliver a strong image that would otherwise look weak and average in color. Qualities like shadow, light, texture, and pattern are accentuated in breathtaking fashion when the attachment of color is eliminated.
In a sense, black and white photography eliminates time from the equation. You can compare an image from the 1940s and one shot today without feeling a gulf in time except for changes in technology and style.
Black and White Photography Tips
The following are vital tips for creating memorable black and white photos.
Watch Black and White Movies
Early movies were produced in black and white. Many films from the 30s, 40s, and 50s are available on YouTube. Producers at the time didn’t have the luxury of using color to draw viewer’s attention. Instead, they had to rely on varying lighting and shades to get their message across.
Love, hate, jealousy, admiration, depression, and elation were all narrated using light. If you are just getting started on black and white photography, these old movies are a quick way to understand what works and what doesn’t. Explore, learn and incorporate these techniques into your own photos.
Choose the Right Equipment
For nearly two decades, digital cameras replaced film cameras and dominated the photography industry. With the advent of affordable smartphones and tablets featuring increasingly good quality inbuilt cameras, many enthusiasts have found a convenient tool for their photography hobby.
There isn’t a perfect choice when it comes to cameras; it depends on personal preference and intended purpose. Hobbyists will probably be happy to settle for a decent phone camera. However, if you are going into black and white photography for professional reasons or are otherwise interested in commercial quality shots, you’ll require a higher end camera.
Pay attention to lenses and filters when choosing a camera. A good monochromatic photo heavily relies on sharp contrast and tonality. You’ll need a lens that can capture these attributes.