HAVE YOU TRIED ANY BLACK AND WHITE LATELY?
Black and White photography is something that has always ‘been there’ but it comes and goes in terms of popularity. Of course in the digital era, you don’t have to shoot in black and white: you can take your photos in colour and convert them in post-processing. But because we shoot almost entirely in colour, we often forget that black and white can be a great option, especially if you want something a little different.
Black and white can capture a very different mood to an identical image in colour, and it helps the viewer appreciate different aspects of a scene than they might otherwise. Like my top image on this post, a scene that might be simply ‘pretty’ in colour can become moody and atmospheric.
Black and white can also help us make successful images at times when getting the perfect image in colour is not so easy. We all know that for landscapes, shooting in the ‘golden hour’ gives us lower contrast and warm, colourful images. But you can’t be everywhere at golden hour…especially when you are travelling. Inevitably you will be have to shoot some scenes closer to the middle of the day in stark light.
Happily, black and white actually benefits from higher contrast. Warm soft tones don’t mean much in a monochrome…with black and white your photo is often defined by harder lines and shadows. In fact when processing a colour image into black and white, it’s not unusual to add some contrast to add even more impact.
I have even found black and white can get me past a few technical issues. Occasionally when processing a photo, I have trouble getting the colours ‘just right.’ In situations where – despite my best efforts – the skin tones just don’t seem to look natural, or the grass is not the right shade of green, the problem goes away when I decide to make it into a black and white!
So…if you haven’t every tried black and white, or if you just haven’t done it for many years…maybe it’s worth a look. At the very least it will add something new to your collection.