Black and White Photography Tips – Create Gorgeous Black and White Photos

black and white photography tips

Black and White Photography Tips – Create Gorgeous Black and White Photos

These black and white photography tips can help you create professional quality results. Right from when photography became a means of communication, it has been observed that your skills as a photographer will enhance only when you have a clear conception about shooting in black and white medium and some skills like composition, shooting and darkroom. To sharpen your compositing skills it is important to first visualize everything around you in black and whites.

Black and White Photography dates back to a time when it was the only way how we could print photographs. Since, the very initial onset of the genre of photography, black and white has been a quite favorite medium among photographers. For some of you taking black and white photo must be really easy while for some it might be an intricate process.

black and white photography

Photo: Giuseppe Milo @Flickr

Some areas where black and white photography looks unique are:

  • Monochrome photos – For giving photographs a sensitive edge and implying the story in the minds of the viewer one can use monochrome or single colored photographs. These specially work great when transformed into black and white.
  • Photographing large spaces – Being dramatic in nature it is often seen photographers use most black and white photography techniques into large spacious landscapes. This creates striking impact to the photographs.
  • Single subject – A popular choice of photographers while shooting black and white photos is a single subject snap. We are all aware how beautiful portraits look when shades of grey is added to it. One of the best black and white photography Tips will be to use black and white medium for shooting portraits.

To transform your black and white photo into gorgeous looking photos here are some small tips:

Shoot black and white photo in RAW

Many times it happens with most of us who shoots photographs using the medium of black and white that, the photo does not come out as per our expectations when we finally review it in the computer. If you shoot in RAW it helps you make comparisons in between your black and white snaps and the color ones. Additionally, the RAW format always keeps the option open to transform the photo back to black and white later.

black and white photography techniques

Photo: Jason Mrachina @Flickr

Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in can create wonders

This plug-in is popularly used by pro photographers to make their black and white snaps look better. The Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in is compatible to image editing software?s like Photoshop and Lightroom. The effect adds a silvery tone to the entire photo with the right balance between brightness, contrast, levels and curves.

Special attention to be given to shadows, lines and shapes

This exercise sounds simple but is really effective in enhancing your visualizations. To be able to visualize the colorful world in just shadows and lines helps creating an impression in your mind about how the final black and white photo will look like.

Noise, an important element to be taken care of

One very important tip while enhancing your black and white photography techniques is that one must never forget the element of noise in photographs. Modern DSLR cameras and lenses offer good photos under extreme low lights also. However, certain settings like an increased amount of ISO increase grains or noise in the photos thus making the final photo look bad. It is advisable to take care of the noise or use noise removal tools and software at the post processing stage.

Contrast in black and white photography

An ideal black and white photo has some portion close to pure white while some to pure black. Tweaking with the contrast setting can help you bring a strong contrast in between the two colors in a photograph.

black and white portraitsBlack and white portraits enhance with shades of grey

For black and white portrait photography greys can be highly beneficial in transforming the look of the photos. Remember if you just focus on the black and white in the photo then the rest of the snap might look unattractive. Adding shadows and highlights by using the flash can add a difference to the photos.

Using polarizer filters

While taking photographs out there under the sun on certain surfaces we see a lot of reflections. It is okay for normal colored photographs but when in black and white these reflections cause?excessive highlights and make the photo lose its appeal. Using a polarizer helps in shooting under the sun as it helps cut out the reflections.

Texture must also be looked at

When the subject being photographed have a lot of well structured textures on it, and then it makes a detailed contrast when these photos are transformed into black and whites. Hence, for amazing B&W photography, try shooting beautiful textures.

Clear concepts and ideas

Every individual aspiring to be a good black and white photographer must have clear conceptions about terminologies like monochromes and grey scales. When color is being placed in a background which is neutral we call it monochromes. Hence, in a black and white photo if the background is either black or white we can term it to be a monochrome photo. Grey scale is a term we use when we show a black and white photo using our computer where shades of grey can be seen.

black and white photo

Photo: Chris Smith @Flickr


Patterned backgrounds and structures when shot in B&W can create a real appealing image. Once you get accustomed in seeing patterns you are sure to find them everywhere around you.

Long exposures

By using long exposures in a black and white photo really helps increasing the look and feel of the image.

A partial replacement to poor lighting conditions

Many times due to poor lighting like a cloudy day or photographing subject?s right in the middle of noon can give not so happy snaps. A cloudy will have no light differences making the photo look dull while shooting under sun creates unwanted reflections. Using polarizer along with converting a photo into black and whites one can somewhat reduce the effects of poor lighting conditions.

black and white photography tips

Photo: peasap @Flickr

Avoid illusions

It is wrong to think that if you take a photograph with minimal color in it then it?s going to look great in black and white. This is a wrong concept. One of the Black and white photography tips is that a photograph will look good when transformed into black and white only when it has colors in it at the first place.

HDR photography shots

Although we come across very few black and white photographs shot in HDR or high dynamic range on the web yet, it can be a highly effective medium. HDR successfully creates an exaggeration in the dynamic ranges of the edges and hence for black and white photos this can be highly beneficial.


This is presumed to be the most prominent tip in black and white photography. The HSL adjustment and settings in photo editing software like Photoshop and Lightroom can work wonders for your images. By post processing the photos in this software tweaking the colors in the panel of HSL one can give a different look and feel to their usual black and white photographs.

You can see yourselves what an impact a simple black and white photography can create in the minds of the viewer. By regularly practicing the above black and white photography tips you can sharpen your black and white photography skills.

Also Check: Street Photography Techniques, Travel Photography Techniques

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