10 Tips for Shooting Black and White Photography

These tips for shooting black and white photography will improve your skills for balanced images and incredible contrast.

As one of the most romantic types of photography, black and white photography is something that every photographer should master. A concept that is not just turning a normal photograph into a black and white one, it is important to consider a few factors to create the ultimate photograph. 

As a way to advance your photography, mastering this romantic photography is the perfect way to amp up your skillset. These tips for shooting black and white photography will improve your skills for balanced images and incredible contrast.

Contrast is important.

To begin our list of the top tips for shooting black and white photography, contrast is one of the most important factors to consider when photographing in black and white. This means that you should look to capture an image that portrays both ends of the spectrum, from pure white to dark black. 

This is the only type of photography where a big contrast is encouraged. And often times, a red filter is even added to shots to increase the contrast.  This is because contrast in a black and white photo is the sole interest in the photograph. 

Give long exposure shots a chance.

Long exposure shots are great for shooting in black and white, especially in monochrome photography. This is because it can enhance the tonal contrast as well as encourage textures. 

As one of the best tips for shooting black and white photography, trying different options while you shoot is the best way to learn your preferences when it comes to discovering and learning a new type of photography. 

Take advantage of filters.

Using filters is a great way to amp up your black and white photography. This goes for both AKA ND grad and polarizing filters, which can be used in both monochrome photography and color photography. This is because filters can be used to manipulate an image, specifically an image's contrast. 

Plus, adding a filter to your photography can also be used to reduce reflections. In short terms, filters will darken the black objects and lighten the white objects. 

Making the black in your photograph darker will make your white brighter.

With our previous tip in mind, being aware of why you want your photographs to have ample contrast is also important. Next on our list of tips for shooting black and white photography is the fact that making darks darker will make your whites brighter. This is simply because of the way that our eyes perceive the image. 

When certain elements of your image are dark, this will create the whites in your image to appear brighter than they actually are, due to the contrast of the photograph. This way, the image will appear more powerful and unique. 

Keep in mind textures.

Equally as important as contrast, keeping in mind textures, levels, and curves while photographing for black and white images is also crucial for capturing the ultimate image. This is because photography is all about the details, specifically when there is no color to create them. Keeping in mind textures when it comes to photographing something will replace the importance of color. 

Post-processing is just as important as anything.

Taking advantage of post-processing tips for shooting black and white photography is just as important as anything else in your process. Use this time to tweak the colors of your photograph, use the contrast adjustments, as well as the levels and curves controls. 

This will help you to manipulate the contrast as well as the tonal range. Plus, the HSL and Grayscale controls are the perfect way to amp up each of your shots as well as adjust the brightness. 

Use the gray tones to your advantage.

Black and white photos are not just black and white. And finding a range of grays is just as important as having dark blacks and bright whites in your photographs. 

The shades of gray in your photography allow the photo to have some vibrancy, without the color. Plus, it will ensure the photo will not appear dull. The range of tones allows the image to keep its highlights and shadows. 

Pay attention to patterns.

Being aware of patterns is one of the best tips for shooting black and white photography. When you find repetition in a shot, this will grab the viewer's attention. 

This is especially true for black and white photography because patterns become more compelling with the lack of color. And like anything in photography, once you have an eye for patterns, you'll begin to find photography everywhere you look. 

You don't have to rely on lighting as much.

Though lighting is always an important aspect to any type of photography, you don't have to rely on it just as much when it comes to black and white photography. This isn't to say that you should completely through your lighting necessities out the window, but to not put as much stress on finding the right lighting for this type of photography. 

Why? Often times, a photo in full color could look terrible due to the lighting, but once switched to black and white, it can change the entire image. This is because you have a little more freedom when it comes to adjusting the contrast as well as the brightness to create a more balanced image. 

Lots of color creates a great black and white photo.

The last of our tips for shooting black and white photography is that a colorful photograph can create a great black and white image. Don't be afraid to alter an extremely colorful photo into a black and white image. This will work great because a photo that is filled with color will often have a ton of contrast already in the image. 

And like we've been over before, contrast is always your friend in black and white photography. Though the vibrancy of a photograph like this may be overwhelming, it will be a great tool for creating a balanced photograhy, with dark blacks and bright whites. 

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10 Tips for Shooting Black and White Photography