Black and white photographs have an old movie elegance to them. They remind me of simpler times of life with much better fashion.
Photography becomes an art when you start breaking the rules. Most photographers don’t mess around with black and white because it feels unnatural to us at first. Black and white photography can make an image have a completely different dynamic – instead of thinking about the primary colors and light you think more about contrast and texture. After this session I put together a list of five tips for better black and white images.
Tip 1: You guessed it -Shoot RAW
Shooting in raw will give you the most control of the images when editing. This is especially helpful with black and white because you have much more of a creative edge. Post production can be really enjoyable with black and white images and you never know how interesting you can make a photo look until you try working with the tones.
Tip 2: Use low ISO
Use the lowest ISO possible. Black and white photography is extremely sensitive to noise or grain and you don’t want a bunch of dots showing up in your photos. A nice clean black and white image is nicely done on a day that is slightly cloudy with the lowest ISO. If you do want that grainy vintage look you should think about adding it in later. It’s always easier to add the grain instead of removing it.
Tip 3: Shoot in Color
The in camera black and white options kind of suck. You are letting your camera decide what the image will look like and it gives you less flexibility in post production. Shoot the photos in color first then convert them to black and white white editing. I shot this session in color and did the monochrome conversion later. I had so much more creative control over my images.
Tip 4: Contrast is Your Friend
Black and white photos focus on shades instead of colors which makes the contrast important. If you are going for dramatic black and white images look for the factors that give the best contrast. This can be found in your subject, lighting, or both. The quality of the light plays a huge role in getting those dramatic effects that make your image pop.
Tip 5: Use Filters
Yay! You get to buy more stuff! Filters (those rainbow colored circle things you can attach to your lens) give black and white images a range of effects. Red filters greatly increase contrast and can turn a blue sky black. Orange and yellow filters have a brightening effect and are used with portraits to help skin tones and reduce the appearance of imperfections.