Black & White Photography
I’m a big fan of black and white photography. I think you can create such beautiful shots in black and white. I love the drama and the romance that I just don’t think you ever get with colour photography. But what makes a photo work well in black and white? After all, most of us now shoot digital so our black and white images are often just colour shots edited into black and white afterwards…
To work well in black and white there needs to be strong tonal contrast in the original image, otherwise it can just look a bit washed out in black and white (two much grey). This timber-framed house in France works in black and white because of the contrast between the dark wooden frame and the whitewashed walls… the added bonus here is that it is an old building so the image feels right in black and white!
Shape and texture
Subjects with strong shapes and interesting textures often work well in black and white. The tree below works because of the texture of the bark and the twisted, old branches which give it both character and shape.
Often simple shots with not too much going on can create striking black and white images. That said, I have seen very busy images that have worked well too – it’s all trial and error at first.
The sombre atmosphere at a war cemetery in Normandy is captured much more effectively in black and white than it would be in colour…
You can create beautiful vintage-looking portraits in black and white… in fact, even a simple portrait can look glamorous in black and white!
The very basic close-up portrait below is much more striking in black and white than it is in colour, don’t you think?
Strong landscapes (mountains, lakes, rivers, etc) and stormy skies work well in black and white – again, this probably ties in with having plenty of contrast in your shots.
To add interest to the image below, I used a fairly long exposure to blur the water…
I love experimenting with black and white to see what works and what doesn’t… Do you love black and white photos? If so, what sort of images do you like in black and white and why?