Black and white photography can give certain scenes a striking, timeless quality when done well. Not every shot will work in B&W, just like certain shots look more beautiful in monochrome than in color. To get the best B&W photos, try planning for that difference and consider the following three tips:
1. Use light and shadow to your advantage.
Light and shadow become more obvious when color is absent. Make sure you plan for that difference and turn it into a strength. For example, try creating a strong contrast between darkness and light. The darker the shadows are, the brighter your light will look.
2. Focus on texture and shape.
Like light and shadow, texture and shape tend to be more important in B&W photos. You no longer have color to lead the viewer’s eye; you need interesting curves, curious shapes, and/or great texture instead.
3. Aim for clarity.
Color photos have a wide palette of color and shading, while black and white photos look best when there’s a clear ‘black’ and ‘white’ to guide the viewer. Otherwise, you end up with a vague, muddy-looking gray image.
Below are some excellent examples of black and white photography selected from our Flickr group. Use these photos as inspiration for your own work, and post your best shots in the group so we can appreciate them!
Shirren Lim – .good morning bagan.
Nimit Nigam – Night Contrast
Paul Shears – Bubble Reflection
Shirren Lim – .Paduang.
Shirren Lim – .balloons over bagan.
Shirren Lim – .stormy day.
Paul Shears – Dark Light
Paul Shears – Mayor’s Maze
Shirren Lim – .the monk at Shwedagon Pagoda.
Alex Greenshpun – Birth of a Star
Alex Greenshpun – Behold, the Mighty Tiger!
Amine Fassi – Fantasia Rider – 2
Jennifer MacNeill – cow in the fog
Alex Greenshpun – Tippy Toes
Amine Fassi – Green commuting
Amine Fassi – Life on the road
Mahesh Balasubramanian – Peek-a-boo !!!
Ahmad Syukaery – Fishermen Pulling The Net, Boom Beach, Banyuwangi
jordan parks – in the kitchen
Jordi Corbilla – Sleeping beauty with dream reflection.
jordan parks – mohawk
Sherrin Lim – .portrait of a yak.
Children of the Mist – Momo´s Helix
Thomas Lieser – walking alone
Sherrin Lim – .the [other] novice monk.
Shirren Lim – .novice monk.
Amine Fassi – Happy Camel, happy day
Federica Giordano – fancy
Alex Greenshpun – Infinity
Andy Farmer – Beckett Harp
Sherrin Lim – .[the] yak herder.
Amine Fassi – Fantazia Ryder
Amine Fassi – Black Time
Konstantinos Kousis – Kozani , Western Macedonia Greece
Amine Fassi – Morning Dark Reflection
Shirren Lim – .sweeper.
Amine Fassi – Street Peek
Sherrin Lim – .lost [in thoughts].
Amine Fassi – Ready to Fight
Justin Piercy – Fades Away.
Elena K. – Self
Bahadır Bermek – Panning Turkey – Istanbul
Bryon Lippincott – Exposed by the light
Shirren Lim – .[puff].
ivan sgobba – Sanibel Island – Florida
Sherrin Lim – .puppets on strings.
Amine Fassi – Chefchaouen – The Kasbah Prison – 1471
Jaime Nicolau – Mi familia
jordan parks – untitled
Bahadır Bermek – Need Some Rest
jordan parks – waiting
Elena K. – Skyscraper – Edited
John Salisbury – parallel accessed
Amine Fassi – Rabat Lighthouse – bw
Shirren Lim – .long road [home].
Paul Shears – Illuminate
Bahadır Bermek – Rain Man Turkey – Istanbul
Sherrin Lim – .the lady.