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How to Make Your Black and White Photography Amazing!

Eric's Photography Corner - Easy Photography Tips and Tricks

‘Like the words in a book, sometimes black and white tells a better story.’ There is something about black and white photography that can evoke more emotion and draw you deeper into an image than with it’s colorful counterpart.

There are three dimensions to creating breathtaking black and whites. The first is learning what to look for and include in your image as you’re taking the shot. The second is how to choose the best camera settings for the job. And the third is how to go about editing your black and white in post production to get the best results. When these three are combined successfully you get an image worth remembering, and this is how:

Dimension 1: When to Take Black and White Photography

1: When your focus is on elements of texture, tones, shapes and patterns. Including any of these elements in the composition of both color and black and white images can add a great deal to the effectiveness of your shot. However because black and whites have no color, your eyes are invited to focus on the fine detail within the shot instead.

Wildlife Photography - Macaw in Black and White by ESP Photographic

The original image has fantastic colors in the feathers but converting the image to black and white has shifted the focus to the patterns and texture of the beak, feathers and skin.

2: When your color image lacks…color! This tip is debatable among enthusiasts because some say that it’s the presence of color that creates a good range of gray tones in the image, creating visual appeal. While this is true to an extent, if the photo has some of the elements listed in Tip 1, or a strong focal point (like the eyes in a portrait), it can become stronger when stripped of it’s weak color range.

Girl with Hat Black and White by ESP Photographic

This image from my studio didn’t have a lot of color. Converting to black and white works because there is strong focal point on the eyes and good contrasting lights and darks, not to mention the texture of her hair and hat.

3: When stong contrasting lights and darks are present. If you’re looking at a scene you intend to photograph and there are heavy contrasts between light and dark areas (shadows and highlights), these opposing elements can add immense visual impact to your image.

4: When emotion is evident in the shot. This is effective because the lack of color in your image directs the attention of the viewer more heavily on what is happening in the photo.

Protester G20 Summit by ESP Photographic

I took my camera along to the protests at the G20 summit in London. There was so much emotion flying around it seemed quite appropriate to shoot in black and white.

5: When you want to add a feeling of timelessness, elegance or drama. Black and white photography is fantastic at adding new dimensions into your image.

6: Compose, compose, compose! And of course I can’t miss out the composition of your image. Brush up on your composition here. When you combine that with the elements in Tip 1, you’re on to a winning black and white image.

Click on Page 2 below for Dimensions 2 and 3!

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2 comments
Senior Pictures
Senior Pictures

These would would be also very helpful for me to giving a wonderful effect to the pictures. Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful post with us..

SaraThalerMcMurry
SaraThalerMcMurry

It is as if you read my mind.  I recently got Photoshop and have a picture of my son when he was a newborn and I want to blow it up but I want it to be B&W to match the one of my older son.  I really want it to be perfect since it will be blown up.  I am still a virgin with Photoshop and dont know how to use/find most tools but Im so glad that now I have some tips to help me along! thanks!