Black and white photography: awaken the artist in you
Black and white photography …
Are you looking to convey emotion through a snapshot? Then, you must immerse yourself in the world of black and white photography. The monochrome portrait can be your best ally to achieve a deep and impactful style.
In this article, you will discover everything you need to know to capture an artistic black and white photo, techniques, tips, inspiration and more. After this you will see everything in black and white, Are you?
So keep reading! 🐼
Defining black and white photos
What is black and white photography? If we want to define what this snapshot represents, we must emphasize the lack of color that characterizes it.
As substitutes for colors we can find a wide range of black and white tones, going through shades of gray. Because of this, they are also known as a monochrome image or grayscale image.
On the other hand, artistic black and white photography focuses on the essence, illumination and form of the object or subject to be portrayed. Emphasizes emotion to project a message that connects with the viewer on an intimate level.
How? Is projecting emotions possible? Sure yes.
But, you should keep in mind that not all black and white photos do. Thus it is important to know the techniques to meet that goal.
Photography is an art that will awaken your creativity and connect you with the world on another level. With black and white photography you will transform those moments into unique pieces thanks to their characteristics and with practice, they will look better and better.
Why love black and white photography?
There are many reasons why after reading this you will love (or will love even more) black and white photos. Basically, they convey drama and emotion, soul and essence.
Apart from calling our attention to project a different reality, Away from the color that surrounds us daily, a black and white image focuses on what is important.
In this way, will highlight the main reason you want to convey, it will elevate the features of the model you are portraying and make him or her stand out.
Sometimes less is more, and black and white photography knows it.
Highlight the shadows
Because it plays with lighting and contrast, these types of snapshots can enhance details or shapes in those portrayed. Proof of this are the old black and white photographs.
The actresses were portrayed taking advantage of the shadows and lighting to achieve a more noticeable and delicate profile. The photographers took advantage of some black and white photography techniques to achieve this, above all, they were guided by a lot of light.
Focus on a single object
Have you seen a black and white image with a touch of color? This version of the black and white photos is characterized by having the entire background in grayscale while the color is returned to the object or subject most important of the portrait.
Source: Europa Press
It will undoubtedly make an impression on the viewer due to the drama that it transmits. A black and white photograph with a touch of color will be impossible to ignore and will capture the attention of any viewer.
Another benefit of an artistic black and white photograph is what it can simulate. Do you remember that we told you that it is key to take advantage of light and shadow? It is precisely to achieve this effect.
If you master the technique to project texture in your black and white snapshots you can create dimensions and your photo will no longer be flat. You can even get close to three-dimensional features. Isn’t it amazing?
Black and white vs. color photography
Do you still keep behind the line of black and white photography lovers And do you prefer the usual color photographs?
We will not deny that classic full color photography has its charm because it’s like seeing life itself, sometimes even better.
But as we told you, the black and white images they have a particular charm And while they allow you to highlight people and give them full focus, they can do the same for landscapes and objects.
Seriously, there is a great variety of subjects that you can portray If you decide to venture into the world of monochrome image and they will look incredible.
Ready to meet characteristics and differences between black and white and color photography? 👀
Black and white photographs are able to go out of the ordinary and present you with a shocking image, which probably wouldn’t have the same effect of being in full color.
Another difference between black and white vs color photography is that the former do not base your composition on the variety of hues you can capture, Thus, gives you the opportunity to highlight the other features of the image.
The magic lies in its only two colors, lighting and shadows.
Also known as the sum of all the colors it represents the absolute, the union and the innocence. In a black and white photograph this color gives a feeling of peace, purity and postivity.
On the other hand, depending on how you decide to capture the black and white portrait you can also achieve negative connotations such as coldness.
The effect you want to give the viewer It will depend on what you capture and how you do it.
Or total absence of light. This color represents the absorption of all colors without reflecting any. What can it do for you in a black and white snapshot? It will bring to the photograph feelings of security, elegance and a classic style.
Black returns to photography in a timeless piece of art. In turn, you can make a grayscale image emphasize feelings of fear and danger as well as closeness to the unknown.
Light and shadow
By having to use only two colors, and a range of grays, light and shadow are the best allies for a spectacular black and white photo.
The result of your black and white portrait will depend on how you use these two factors. The light source can be natural or artificial, take into consideration the result you want to achieve.
✅ Diffused light: which is distributed throughout the space that you frame in your black and white photograph, it will give it notoriety to the whole portrait.
✅ Direct light: focuses only on one object and makes it stand out from everything that surrounds it. Ideal to highlight a specific subject or situation.
✅ Natural light: use daylight or moonlight to get spectacular contrasts in your photographs monochrome, it will give your art a particular effect.
Did you run out of inspiration? Download our guide with the best poses for photography! 🤩
What photos are ideal for portraying in black and white?
Although you can transform any photo to black and white, not all of them are intended to convey strong feelings or emotions. You should choose the right moment to capture an amazing photo.
As well as the moment, the subject is also important. Now you will know which ones are more suited to the black and white style. 😎
Compositions with lines
Vertical, horizontal, curved, of all kinds! These will serve as a guide as the viewer’s gaze will move through it throughout the image. You will gain depth, volume and dynamism in your black and white portrait.
Focus attention on a single object and achieve a grayscale image that says a lot with very little. The challenge is to transmit emotion with the minimum you find, do you dare?
High contrast images
The trick here is take advantage of the amount of light you receive for the benefit of your monochrome image. Whether it’s a harsh light like the sun’s rays in the day or before setting at sunset, both offer you different benefits, which one is your favorite? 🤔
Portraying a person or group allows you to capture their personality by transmitting emotion or a specific message. If you decide to turn the portrait black and white, you will enhance the effects that this type of snapshot allows you to transmit.
Street photography o street photography
This is the type of photography that is gaining more fans as it captures the human essence in the environment, in its day-to-day life. Capture spontaneous moments and make them timeless with black and white scales.
Capture the evolution of man’s creativity over time reflected in spaces and elements. They can be facades, rooms, monuments or whatever you decide, if you convert the photo to monochrome the lines and contours will stand out even more.
How to take a good black and white photograph?
Good! You already have the inspiration and you know where to look to capture a black and white portrait worthy of an artist. Now, it’s time to find out how to make one.
📸 Learn to see in black and white, translate the color gamut to its corresponding in monochrome.
Source: Photographer’s Blog
📸 Look at the shapes of the landscape or object that you are looking to portray.
📸 Take a moment to analyze highlights, shadows and contrast of the composition.
📸 Identify lines and patterns that you want to include in your frame.
📸 Look for textures to take your snapshot away from flat features.
📸 Check that everything fits and shoot!
Remember that mastering the art of black and white photography can be challenging but with practice and patience you will achieve spectacular snapshots.
Before shooting, take your time!
Tips for Achieving an Amazing Black and White Image
The final touch that could not be missing in this guide on black and white photography are some tips to perfect the portrait you have in mind to capture.
Good recommendations never hurt, don’t you think? 😉
✅ Try to include multiple light sources or else one powerful light source to have a grayscale photo with shades that diversify the portrait.
✅ If you want to capture surfaces that generate reflection you must get a polarizer to prevent your black and white photography from being harmed by it.
✅ Use a low ISO level to achieve a better tonality in your black and white photography.
✅ Find a clear center of interest which will be the main focus of your black and white photography.
✅ Use the RAW format to capture a black and white photo, so you can get the raw format, therefore, a better quality by making it monochrome.
We reached the end of the article and we are sure that you’re ready to capture the best black and white photos. To achieve striking monochrome snapshots you have to practice and in some time you will be on your way to being a pro.
You can always train and take courses to improve your technique until you achieve an artistic black and white photograph that transmits emotion. Do not forget our tips and steps to achieve an amazing portrait.
Get your camera ready or smartphone and let the world say: Cheese! 😁