Black and White Photography

Let’s discuss Black and White Photography


A wise man once said, “Don’t define your world in black and white. For there is so much hiding amongst the greys!”

We perceive the world in colour and more often than not, we are attracted to the bright and colourful. What is visually pleasing to the eye draws our attention, and hence, prefer images that portray a contrast of colours.


When the camera was first introduced into society, people had no choice but to take pictures in black and white. However, with the advancement of time and technology, the original black and white cameras gave way to a modern colourized version. The need for monochrome photography began to fade away.


The question is “what is the need for black and white photography in an advanced world where coloured photographs are captured in a heartbeat’s notice?”

The Aesthetic

Our modern technology allows you to photograph images as you see them in high definition and colour quality – which leaves only a few reasons why one would want to take pictures in monochrome – and that is aesthetics. Black and White images are a classic art form which paved the way for photography as we know it today. It’s simplicity and delicacy is aesthetically pleasing, and one of the main reasons why a photographer may choose to capture their subject in monochrome. It draws the viewer in for a closer look a tones down the vibrancy of everyday photography and are perfect for brushed metal prints.


Monochrome Aesthetic


Black and White Photography has a more intense feel to it

When it comes to shooting black and white pictures, it often appears more intensely when compared to its coloured counterparts. One of the reasons behind this is because colour is no longer a contributing factor. The challenge with coloured photographs is that sometimes the background of the picture is brighter than the actual subject matter of the photo. However, when it comes to monochrome photography, it is not always the case. The photographer is free to manipulate the audience and direct attention towards exactly what the wish the subject matter to be. It results in the eyes not only focusing on the picture as a whole but also the intended subject. Thus making it appear more intense than coloured photographs. Black and white photography has a way of making a statement without ever uttering a single word. They are elusive, subtle and classy and have a way with capturing the heart of the matter. An Acrylic Print would be an excellent showcase for an intense monochrome image.


Monochrome Intensity


How to choose the perfect subject matters for Black and White Photography

When you shoot pictures in black and white there is one thing that will become evident to you. The world complete transforms when you view it in greyscale. Suddenly, everything is different and nothing appears as you have always seen it. It is almost mystical. However, just switching from colour to black and white is not going to cut it. You have to make sure you choose your subject matters carefully and wisely. That is the only way to ensure that your photograph is more than just a crudely taken picture. Here are a few tips on how to choose the subject matters in a way that make your photograph more artistic than ever. We also suggest the Acrylic Lite for your final printing product.


Choosing a Subject


Experiment with different Textures

If you are a beginner, texture may be an easy subject to start with as it shows in various forms – such as smooth or rough. As an amateur it is recommended that you try experimenting by trying to capture these different textures in your photographs and see how the end result appears.


When is search, it is suggest the first thing to try and photograph for new textures is rocks. They are easy to find and a perfect beginner. They come in various different sizes and textures so naturally, they make a perfect subject matter. Other things you can try to photograph are plants and flowers in a garden, or sports items like basketballs. The leathery and grainy texture of a ball will make for an interesting subject matter. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even try out fruits and vegetables in your kitchen.


Black and White Texture


Find subject matters with interesting looking shadows

Whenever light shines on an object, it casts a shadow. When it comes to black and white photography, always look for interestingly forming shadows. These will make an ordinary looking image seem extraordinary. There are two ways you can shoot photographs with shadows. Either you can shoot in natural light, or you can use artificial light. Natural light is preferred and will usually yield the most stunning results.


However, when you are shooting in natural light, chances are that you are going to have to be patient. You will have to choose your subject matter, position it outside in the daylight and then wait for the sun be at an angle that forms the perfect kind of shadow that you desire for your photograph. This may sound tedious, but the results will be breathtaking. If you lack the patience to do this, you can always use a torch light to cast a shadow on whatever object you want to make the subject matter of your photograph.


Black and White Shadows


Shoot Abstract Images

One of the best things that have come from the modern age is abstract art. This form of art allows the viewer to look at something seemingly ordinary in a completely different way. If you are passionate about black and white photography than abstract images will do you well. You will be surprised with the stunning results you will end up with. Look for geometrical shapes or shoot your pictures from different angles that help you see the picture from another perspective. In doing so, you will find something commonplace and make it superb.


For instance, find yourself an ordinary stairwell spiralling upwards and point your camera lens upwards. People tend to look down from the top when descending from a staircase but rarely look upwards. Therefore, if you shoot a greyscale photograph of a stairwell from the bottom up, you will end up with an amazing spiralling pattern swirling upwards. This will make for an extraordinary abstract image.


Black and White Abstract


People Portraits

When it comes to black and white photography, another great subject matter to photograph are people! The problem with coloured pictures is the can reveal too much unwanted detail. However, when it comes to black and white photographs, this problem will all but disappear. Greyscale photography is great for taking pictures of people with different skin tones. It blends the tones of the skin beautifully and at the end you are left with a picture that speaks volumes about the person in the photograph.


Monochrome photography is also great for capturing emotion. Let’s say you took a picture of a man kneeling at the side of his wife’s grave laying flowers. In colour, this picture may look vaguely sad. However, in black and white, this very same picture will look devastating. There’s something about black and white photographs that’s simply powerful and emotionally moving. So if you are trying to capture emotion, monochrome is the way to go!


Black and White Portrait


Few things to remember when shooting black and white photographs

Shooting black and white images is not as easy as it sounds. There is a lot you need to keep in mind if you want to capture an image worth displaying and sharing with the world. The first thing to remember is to make sure you view the subject matter, background, and overall image to see what kinds of shades the lighting in the area is creating. In a coloured photograph, it is easy discern one thing from anther due to the difference in colours. However, in a greyscale picture, you have make sure each and everything is perfectly balanced while keeping the contrast in mind to come up with the perfect photograph.


Another thing to keep in mind is patterns. Black and white photography is as much a game of mixing and matching patterns than anything else. Since there is no colour, you have to make the picture pop by introducing different patterns. Play with lights and shadows in order to add effects in your picture.


Keep all these things in view, and surely, you will capture a picture that would be worth a thousand words!