I’ve got asked If I could do a post about the basics of black and white photography few times last week. So, here you go. A basic guide to take good black and white photos and learn about it quickly. For these black and white photo tips, you should have a post production software like photoshop or lightroom. But I am gonna tell you in a few lines why. Let’s get started.
Use a post production software.
I always use Photoshop or Lightroom to make my black and white pictures. You might ask yourself now why? when the camera has a built-in monochrome picture style. There are two reasons. The first one is the processor inside your camera that creates the black and white image will never do a better work than your computer together with photoshop. The second one is there are so many ways you can change your image in post production when you have a raw file to edit from, and there is only one monochrome setting on your camera.
Shoot in raw and jpeg.
When I go to shoot black and white pictures I always shoot in jpeg and raw. The reason for that is I can see the black and white image instantly but when I go into post production I will have a lot more to work with when I have a raw file.
Use your picture style monochrome.
I know everybody says don’t use your picture style monochrome for black and white photography but when you just start to try things out you absolutely should use it. So you can see instantly if the black and white picture you just shot works in black and white or if it’s just boring. That way you will have a steeper learning curve because you can instantly adapt to your mistake. Of course, you should always use it in combination with a raw file for your final black and white picture.
Cloudy days are awesome.
Next time when you sit a t home and complain about the bad weather shoot black and white 🙂 you will see you have a very wide range of grays. What does that mean? The reason why you don’t want to shoot on gray days in color is that the colors are all a little gray right? Get the hint? Now you don’t have any colors just very soft light through the clouds like an enormous softbox. So, no more complaining about bad weather 😀
Think in Shapes and curves.
Try to look out for interesting shapes curves, textures and light since you don’t have any color that you could work with. For example, sunsets are usually awesome pictures but in black and white they look absolutely booooooring. Because everything that is interesting about a sunset picture is related to colors. But if you take for example portrait photos they can look totally different and sometimes way more interesting in black and white as they would in color.
LITTLE TIP: Almost everything related to people photography looks good in black and white.
If you are new to photoshop or lightroom or even if you are a pro and still don’t know about google’s Nik Software silver efex. You should absolutely try it out. It is a plugin for Adobe and even if you don’t know the slightest thing about photoshop or lightroom you will be able to create stunning black and white pictures from your raw files in no time.
Ups I almost forgot to mentions it’s free! 🙂
Use a Low iso.
As always try to keep your iso as low as possible in the situation. If you want to have a nice vintage or old style black and white picture you can still add real film grain with photoshop or lightroom that will look ten times better plus you can control it 🙂
That’s it for today. I hope you liked my post and as always If you have any questions suggestions or opinions let me know in the comment. Till then have a nice day