I was recently asked on Instagram by a fellow blogger called B, which is the girl behind the blog called Lellow, about any tips I had for black and white photography for beginners. So I thought I could create a great blog post out of it. So thanks for the idea B. Hopefully, I’ll answer your question more in depth here.
SHOOT IN RAW
Always shoot in RAW. This is a very important tip that works for any kind of photography, not just black and white. The information that a RAW file holds is waaaay bigger than a JPEG. That means you have much more to work with and to fix in post-production.
Black and white photographs look their best when there is a lot of contrast. That means whiter whites and darker blacks. So look up for the correct lighting situation, or create it artificially. Play with strong lights and harsh shadows.
This will make your black and white photography stand out a lot more than a flat image. But then again, photography is an art form. And like all other art forms, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And in the end what matters is to find your own style and your own voice. And if that involves flatter photos instead of high contrast photos, then that works too! The most important thing here is to practice everything until you find what works for you.
Candid moments, especially in portraits are one of my favorite things to photograph in black and white.
The magic of black and white is that it can work with almost anything.
“When in doubt, make it black and white”
Long exposure shots make really nice black and white photos. Especially if its a landscape. And even more, if there is a moving element such as water. Long exposure plays with adding an extra important step to black and white photography; which is texture.
Also, keep in mind that long exposure photos generally need a tripod. So it’s a bit of extra work than taking a candid portrait.
Post-production is a very important part of any photograph. Especially if you are indeed shooting in RAW, cause it helps with bringing any photo back to life.
And that’s the technical part. But artistically speaking, in post-production, you can play with creating your own personal style playing with how you like the highlights, shadows, tones, white balance, hues, saturation, etc, etc.
And this applies to black and white photography too. Because even if an untrained eye can’t see it, there are tones and hues and temperature in black and white photos.
Like anything in life, practice makes perfect. So you go out and do just that.
PS: If any of the terms mentioned in this post sound alien to you, I would recommend you reading my 4-post series Photography Tips Series.
In this order:
- The Gear
- Basics and Settings
- Storage and Backup
- The Edits
I talk about everything here, very in depth, and very beginner friendly. So I know these posts will help you a ton with understanding the hard technical parts of photography.
And as always, I’m here to answer your questions! So don’t hesitate to ask me anything.