What makes black and white photography so sexy even in this colorful world? While the answers to this question might be many, mine is that by eliminating most colors, B&W photos help see shades of light, tone, and texture more vividly. Maybe that’s why there is always something so intimate in black and white images.
Of course, light plays a dominant role in photography. However, sometimes a minute effect of light in a photo can be ruined by the vibrant colors of the same photo. In black and white photography, the light itself can be one of the main subjects of the photo if not the only one.
As for tone, it can vary a lot. Basically, in a B&W image, we see the different shades and hues of gray. If edited correctly, the gray tone variations can be quite appealing to the eye and can make the subject really pop.
So overall, you can see why black and white photography is the new sexy. Let us now throw a quick look at a few tricks on how to shoot extremely beautiful B&W photos.
Try to see in black and white
If you are photographing with your phone you might first shoot in color and then transform your photos into black and white. So, try to train your mind to see beyond the colors you actually see. Try to focus on texture, light, and tone. See if the composition looks pretty, exciting, catchy and/or mysterious without colors. When they say “think out of the box,” they mean you need to unleash your creativity.
And when I say try to shoot black and white, I mean try to see beauty without color. I do not say it will be easy to shoot perfect B&W photos. But I am 100% sure you will be able to do so if you invest enough time and effort into black and white photography.
Take contrast seriously: it’s a key in black and white photography
B&W photography relies heavily on contrast. And I mean the contrast between black and white tones of the same image. It is crucial to take contrast into account both while shooting and while editing like it is doing the famous B&W photographer Shirren Lim.
While you are shooting, try to add the contrast with light. Place the object in front of where the natural light is coming from or simply make light fall slightly on the object. This will work especially well with portraits. It will add some extra mystery to them.
After you are done with shooting, make sure you edit your images properly. Of course, the level of contrast for a photo is completely up to you. When experimenting with black and white photography, you can try Pixomatic’s gray effects as well as the contrast tool to make the needed adjustments.
Don’t edit in black and white first
As said above, if you are to shoot in color and then transform the photo into black and white then make sure you edit it in color first. Editing in color can help manage saturation well. And as soon as you are done with it and gone to editing in black and white, you may only need to work a bit on brightness and contrast.
Leave everything away, focus on the object
If you are shooting a portrait, there are so many things you can focus on: the eyes, the lips, the wrinkles. And if you are doing street photography, you can focus on geometrical elements, patterns, architecture, lines, and shapes. Do you guess what I am trying to say? Leave the colors away. Even forget about contrast. Instead, focus on real objects, things that are interesting by their shape and texture. And go shoot them!
Step back in time: watch B&W movies
If you want to shoot incredible B&W photos, go watch a couple retro movies: those from the 40s and 50s. And I do not only mean you need to watch the plot. I mean, look at the scenes, the lighting, shapes and the shades. People once had only these two colors to tell their stories, to express misery, love, hate etc. And the public has certain preconceived perceptions because of these movies. So, watch them in order to be able to use familiar concepts and to make your photos catchy and heartwarming.
Final notes on black and white pieces of delight
Black and white photography is sexy enough to look good nearly anytime. Monochrome photos can tell a story well without the need of any colors.They can tell a story well without the need of any colors. And they can add depth to objects and give us the chance to explore them in detail. That’s why B&W photography is often used for abstract photos. On the other hand, it might be quite difficult to shoot in black and white if you are focusing on landscapes and large spaces. If you can make them dramatic, then go for them; if not then better shoot in color. At least you can give it a try. And remember to never get upset if you do not get the desired outcomes after the first few shots. Just click on!
If you have some more awesome ideas about black and white photography, feel free to leave a comment below. Edit your shots with Pixomatic app and share them with us on Instagram and Twitter under #Pixomatic.