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!