Why shoot Black & White?
> It’s classic, elegant, romantic and special.
> When learning photography, the simplicity of BW helps you focus on the important stuff.
> You can often turn a drab color shot into an amazing black and white.
> A lot of photographers prefer black and white because the world changes when it is in black and white.
> If you do your own darkroom work – traditional or digital – it opens up a world of magic and fun.
- if you have it on your camera, RAW offers the most control in the post production phase of converting your color images into black and white ones. Digital cameras have a smaller tonal range than film cameras. RAW files retain greater and finer details in terms of tones, textures, gradients & shadow recovery and allows you more ground for post-processing techniques. It enables better shadow recovery and more shades of gray amongst a host of other benefits. RAW is not a photograph; it’s the image data that is converted to an image during post-processing.
- if your camera cannot shoot in RAW, shoot in color and do your conversion to black and white later on your computer. Most digital cameras offer you the option to shoot in Black and White, but you have more control over your end results if you have the color data to work with when you convert on your computer. Shooting in color enables you to de-saturate specific colors to present a mono-tone image or use color filters to change the contrast and shades of objects of different yet equally strong colors. And you can also process the image creatively to create a partial black and white (select color) photograph.
- BW is the perfect medium of portraying the sentiments and emotions. They can have an element of timelessness, nostalgia, loneliness, isolation and class that is missing from a color image.
include landscapes, portraits, still life and everyday scenes. Less traditional are abstracts using shapes, patterns and textures.
- BW is heavily reliant on shapes, forms and textures.
-BW is great for capturing an interesting pattern that would otherwise blend in with the surrounding color. If you want to bring out a subtle pattern, BW does it much more effectively than color.
- the essence lies in capturing the physical properties of the objects in form of texture, shape, form, tones. This is possible with with the concept of lighting. Soft light gives extensive tones and hard(er) light enhances contrast. Angular light accentuates the textures and forms. Filling the frame with such fine details help in relating the objects to real life with subtlety of colorless impact.
- Some prefer to shoot Black and White in low contrast situations. Instead of sitting at home complaining about the ‘poor light’, a dark or overcast day can be a great time to shoot out door shots in BW. When taking outdoor photographs in black and white, aim for days when clouds are present. Low-contrast settings tend to soften the textures of a photo, which creates problems for color photography but brings out the darker tones in black and white shots, creating a serene feel.
- The theory of light which hold true for color photographs only become more important in case of black and white photography. Light adds drama to the scene on one hand and help in penetrating the depth on the other hand. With BW, the tones and shades of gray vary with the variance in the direction and source of light.
- Good BW should draw the viewers attention into the frame by portraying various shades of gray varying from black at the lowest end to white at the highest.
- is the difference between the highlights and the shadows. Contrast plays an important role by conveying the message and sets the tone of the imagery. A high contrast conveys strength, power and authority. A low contrast image portrays the softness and haziness.
- shoot with the lowest possible ISO possible. It is particularly important to black and white where noise created by ISO can become even more obvious. If you’re after this ‘noise’ (or grain), you can always add it later in your post production. It’s more difficult to go the other way and take noise out.
- is the basic element of colorless or mono-chromatic photography. Most of the general tips on how to compose or frame a good shot apply the same to BW as color. However the obvious difference is that you are not able to use color to lead the eye into or around your shot. You will need to train yourself to look at shapes, tones and textures in your frame as points of interest. Pay particular attention to shadows and highlights, lines, patterns, textures, the rule of thirds and the golden ratio.
Learn to see and admire the beauty of black and white photographs before picking up the camera. Get inspiration from the black and white photo-galleries and look for the essence that draws your attention.
Sources: AdvancedPhotography.Net, BetterPhoto.com, Digital Photography School- Darren Rowse, eHow- Spencer Hendricks, New York Institute of Photography