Black & White Photography Tips for Beginners

Black & White Photography Tips for Beginners

Summerana   |    June 17, 2019

THIS IS A GUEST POST COURTESY OF MONIKA CIOBAN

Black & White photography is a whole different type of art. It’s not meant to save bad colored photographs. Its purpose is to create a stunning image that was planned to be black and white from the very beginning. So here are some tips and tricks that can help you execute and create some beautiful monochrome photographs.

SUBJECT

First and foremost you need to choose your subject. Pick one that has a well-defined shape, form or texture. For example the image below:

Image by Chraker Heller (Pixabay.com)

COMPOSITION,LIGHT, TEXTURE AND INTERACTION

Your photograph needs to be defined by the overall composition, light, and interaction between the elements. Not by the subject itself.  It’s difficult at first to imagine a scene in black and white. With time and practice, you will notice that it becomes easier.

BLACK & WHITE THROUGH YOUR VIEWFINDER

Most DSLRs have an option to show you black & white through the viewfinder. Check if your camera is capable of this and start using that neat feature. Keep in mind that the pictures you take will be in color.

Image by Wendy Corniquet (Pixabay.com)

NOT EVERY PHOTOGRAPH WILL LOOK GOOD IN BLACK & WHITE

If you must convert a color image into black & white, ask yourself this: Is the color critical to this photograph? If the answer is “yes” then don’t try to force it. Not every image will look good as a monochrome. Also, not every image can be saved.

BE CAREFUL WHEN SHOOTING SKIES

Shooting in wide open, outdoor space where the image contains more than 50% of skies be aware that you may need some practice to nail it. Negative space can be extremely beautiful as long as it is executed well. Make sure that your subject is well composed. See example below:

Image by Jordy Meow (Pixabay.com)

ALWAYS SHOOT IN RAW

Don’t forget to always shoot in RAW! Not only when you plan to convert to black and white but ALWAYS! You have heard it a million times and you will hear it a million more. But you must always shoot in raw! You never know what might go wrong during a session and by the time you notice it might be too late to fix and reshoot. The chances of fixing your mistake during post-processing get significantly higher than if you shoot in jpg only.

PRACTICE ON STILL-LIFE

Before you start shooting portraits of people, practice on still life. Notice the light, and change angles until you find the best composition. Sometimes objects look a little flat (two-dimensional) but adding some contrast during the post-processing will help with that.

 

Image by Sebastian Ganso (Pixabay.com)

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
Some of the greatest Black & White Photographs are done on the street. Think of it as a documentary style. Capturing people’s nature, their lifestyle, buildings, streets…etc.

Image by Michael Gaida
(Pixabay.com)

Now that you know the basics and you probably got inspired by looking at the photographs, it’s time to go and shoot your own Black & White images. Good luck and don’t forget…PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!

Monika Cioban

https://www.masquer8photography.com/

This article was featured in Summerana Magazine | July 2019 | The Black and White Issue  See the full issue here.

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About Summerana
Grace Pamela is a photographer and owner of Summerana, which is named after her two daughters, Summer and Liliana.
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