Top 8 Tips for Beginner Black and White Photography
Many people’s fascination surrounds black and white photography. Even non-photographers find themselves attracted to a good black and white image. Once you decide to work with black and white photography, your subjects will portray a character that the color photograph does not reveal.
Digital photographers can attest that black and white photography is not different from color photography.
In our article below, we will provide you with reasons why people prefer black and white photography to their color counterparts.
We will also enlighten you about some essential tips that beginner black and white photographers should employ to shoot beautiful images. Learn more about black and white photography tips below.
Why do people love black and white photography?
Black and white allow you to see differently.
In 2022, Color photographs will appear as the most preferred photographs compared to their black and white counterparts. However, many people and photographers show a lot of interest in monochromatic images.
Black and white images are the best for many people because they display simple and beautiful landscapes which color photos don’t display.
They add emotion and moods.
Moreover, black and white photography is the best option for many people because they can display their raw emotions. They are also the best to emphasize qualities such as shadow and light.
Things like the tonal range and deep contrast appeal to people psychologically. An emotional connection pops up, and you can then look around and pay great attention.
It feels timeless.
Lastly, black and white photography adds a timelessness to your photos. You may not instantly date a black and white image because they have existed for as long as photography has existed.
Top 8 Tips for Beginner Black and White Photography
Below are some tips that will enable you to get the best black and white photography experience as a beginner. Ensure you follow them for improved photography results.
#1. Tailor Your Approach
For black and white beginners, you need this important skill for the best experience. You need to tailor your approach and see it in black and white. Many beginner black and white photographers can’t imagine translating the world of color to a monochromatic photo.
You need to know how your scene will look when photographed to achieve great and perfect shoots. Consequently, you can consider getting a contrast viewing filter to enable you to view your images as your camera and film sees them. You switch your camera to monochromatic mode and transform your images into black and white.
#2. Be wary of monochrome mode
Many digital cameras enable you to shoot in black and white by just switching to monochrome mode. You should not rely heavily on this feature as a black and white beginner photographer. This is because, at times, the feature can limit your choices in post-processing.
Such limits are because your photos will be saved as jpegs when in monochrome mode. Unlike raw photos, you will lack the ability to edit your photos, which may contain less information.
Experts recommend that you shoot in color on your digital camera, which comes as RAW. This allows you to convert your images to black and white and keep the data from your sensor provided you shoot while RAW.
#3. Start with a low ISO
For digital photographers, you need to consider this aspect if you want to get more beautiful black and images. Of course, a high-speed film may produce the best image, which works to your advantage. However, you need to know that shooting digitally with a high ISO may result in noise, mostly in the shadows.
Shadows are key in black and white photography; hence you should ensure that you keep them as deep and clear as you can. You can start from ISO 100 and increase it only if it compels you to.
Low ISO is ideal for you because it allows you to get a better output when shooting during the day and at night as well. Avoid high ISO because they are likely to produce overexposed images.
#4. Edit your images properly
It’s one of the major parts of black and white photography. Because if you can’t edit your images properly, it will not look awesome. Make sure you have used raw file format instead of jpeg then.
The editing format is different type based on phototype. Ex – If the picture is a portrait, make sure you consider adjusting the yellow color channel. It makes the screen soften.
If you are not pro at photo editing, you can hire a professional photo retouching service. But always make sure to capture raw images, because if you have it then you can easily adjust anything in future,
#5. Slow down
Another thing you need to consider as a black and white photographer is the time you use to work on your images. Black and white photography is timeless, and they take time before you get the final result.
Unlike color photography, black and white pose a great challenge because you must guide your eyes to use compositional elements, lines, and forms to create the same effect.
Dealing with black and white requires settling on the simplest and clearest solution. That makes the word ‘essence’ common for black and white photographers.
Moreover, they emphasize that you only need to distill the elements of your images down to just the essentials. Therefore, you mustn’t rush yourself when working on black and white photography. Otherwise, you risk getting the worst results.
#6. Plan for the weather
Another tip that black and white photography beginners should be keen on is the weather conditions that they shoot in. Since black and white photography heavily relies on light and contrast, you need to pay attention to them to help you watch the forecast. This enables you to plan for your shoot well.
For instance, if you plan to take your photos on soft lighting with a range of middle-grays, choose an overcast day with a little bit of snow to flatten the light.
On the other hand, experts recommend choosing a bright sunny day when shooting in heavy contrast. Both times of the weather are ideal for black and white photography, but you need to choose according to how you want your photo’s overall mood and look to be.
#7. Watch the contrast
Here is another aspect that you need to pay attention to as a black and white photography beginner. Contrast matters a lot in a black and white photo. You need a white photo to be bright and those black ones to be dark.
However, that does not mean that you will not want to see those middle-grays as well. The problem with beginner photographers is that they sometimes boost the contrast way too far during post-processing. Ensure you do not fall prey and overdo this anymore.
The best way to see whether you have excess contrast is to check those areas with a lot of details in your images. The nuances will disappear if your image is too contrasting. If you are using post-processing software, it will alert you when you clip your shadows and highlights. Ensure you watch the alerts and warnings.
#8. Adjust the colors
As we said earlier, you should avoid monochrome jpegs because you will not see the colors in your converted image. You should pay attention to the colors when post-processing. Your photo’s various tones and contrasts can be affected by just an adjustment of the temperature, white balance, and tint.
Once you open your RAW file on the PC, avoid converting it to grayscale with just a click. It would help if you also resisted lowering the saturation to -100.
Photoshop may sound good to many, but we recommend that you do it yourself by guessing what looks good. You can also choose to work with a black and white adjustment layer because it can give you stronger images than those quick fixes.
If you are a black and white photography beginner, you have every reason to trust the process of becoming an expert. The whole process is simple once you follow the few tricks you learned above.
Black and white photography stretch your horizons. It allows you to open your eyes to various aspects of life that never made sense to you before. You will become a better photographer no matter the type of camera you use.
About the Author!
Kaif Hasan is a professional photo editor with 5+ years of experience with photography. He is the CEO and Founder of FixiPixi (A Canadian Based Photo Editing Service). I love to travel and photography, generally, photography is my passion. I like to share my experience with other people.