Tips for better black and white photography

With digital photography, black and white photography has never been easier.

Read our tips below to enhance your black and white photographs.

 

1- Photograph RAW + JPEG

The most beautiful monochrome conversions are obtained from RAW files which have much richer and complete color profiles. However, many photographers have difficulty visualizing the black and white scenes. If you shoot simultaneously in RAW and JPEG and set up your camera in such a way as to obtain the black and white simulation, you will get a better idea of the future rendering of the photos. Thanks to the RAW file you will always be able to convert from monochrome to black and white photography as you see fit.

 

2- Search for contrast, texture, and contours

The complementary and opposite colors that usually bring so much dynamism to the color photo, lose their vitality when you convert to black and white. For example, your eye is immediately attracted by a red object on a green background. Monochrome photography has the effect of giving exactly the same luminosity to these two tones so that the images can look flattened and without contrast. Although it is now possible to modify the brightness separately for these two shades, the starting point of a successful post-treatment will be to first sublimate the contrast of your photo.

We therefore recommend to focus on scenes that already contain contrasting white and black tones. A good black and white composition should also contain particularly pronounced shapes, shadows and lines.

 

3- Long exposure and monochrome photography go great together

Long exposures, especially for sky or turbulent waters, are perfect for monochrome photography. Freezing the movement contributes to bring texture and contrast to the photo. If necessary, do not hesitate to use a neutral gray filter to obtain a correct exposure. In case the shutter speed is reduced to less than 1 / 60s, it will probably be necessary to use a tripod to avoid motion blur.

 

4- Search for graphic shapes and patterns

Color photography sometimes prevents us from noticing repetitive patterns or exceptional forms. Black and white photography makes the patterns more fascinating. With a little habit you will find shapes and patterns almost everywhere: cars parked in a parking lot, bush walkways or even the windows of a building.

 

And now, play on.


NB: are monochrome and black and white two terms synonymous? Not really. A monochrome photograph means that the color is positioned on a neutral background. Thus, black and white photography is a form of monochrome photography where black is superimposed on a white background.

 

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