Black and white photography

Black and white collage

Black and white photography is a great way of improving your composition, as it simplifies all the elements. Here are a few tips:

  • You may be able to set your camera to shoot in black and white under “picture styles” or similar. I wouldn’t usually advise this, as it’s best to shoot everything in colour and convert to black and white. But in this instance it might help you to see if your image looks strong in black and white as you take it.
  • You don’t have colour to distinguish details so the quality of the light is all important. Strong, direct light will create high contrasts of dark and light, whereas soft, diffused light will give soft greys.
  • Use defined textures to give your image a gritty realism, or soft textures for a softer, dreamier look.
  • Black and white demands strong composition. You can’t hide a poor composition behind rich colours. You will need to think about techniques like leading lines, repeating patterns, filling the frame, where you place your subject in the frame.
  • PicMonkey is the easiest place to go to convert your images to black and white, unless you are using Photoshop or Lightroom. Here’s a link to some tutorials on PicMonkey. 
  • If you’d like to do some additional reading there’s a great set of ebooks by one of my favourite authors, Andrew S Gibson The Magic of Black and White Three books for $14.40.

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