The Power of Black and White Photos

black and white photography

I think there is something special about black and white photos, but I can understand why most people prefer to shoot in color.  I agree that we are attracted by colors, but I believe that it’s inaccurate to assume that people prefer bright colors over muted tones. It depends on the situation. If you want to relax or take a nap, you will probably find soft colors more attractive. Yes, bright colors tend to grab people’s attention, but not always in a good way; they can also become a distraction. In this situation, black and white might be the answer. Luckily you don’t have to shoot black and white because you can convert the images in post-processing. Make sure to shoot raw.  

Here are the most common situations when I decide to turn my shots to black and white:

1. People/Street Photography

I am not entirely sure why I prefer black and white photography for people, but I know that it helps the viewer focus on the subject, without the distractions of color.  

black and white photography

2. High Contrast Images

Shooting during day, especially around noon, can be challenging due to harsh light and the high contrast between light and shadow. This is a good opportunity to experience with black and white photography. 

 

black and white photography


3. Shapes, Lines, or Textures

The lack of color allows the brain to focus on shapes.  

black and white photography tips

black and white photography tips

4. Clouds

The contrast in the clouds and their reflection makes for more dramatic images. 

black and white photography tips

5. Moody photos

I use black and white to create a certain mood. To me, black and white photo convey mystery, loneliness, and emotions, but never happiness and joy.  

black and white photography tips

As a general rule of thumb, when color doesn’t add anything to the image, give black and white photography a shot. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results. If you ever get frustration with a shot in post-processing, try converting it to black and white before you decide to delete it.  

Happy black and white shooting! 

For more photography tips and ideas, check out my latest photography book, Picture (Im)perfect Photographynow available at Amazon.


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