Black and White and Monochrome Photography

monochrome, shadowsWhen a photograph displays a single hue instead of the original colors at the time it was taken, it is said to be Monochromatic. Black and white photography is monochromatic.

How to Take Good Monochrome Images

Ditch the Colorful Thinking

As mentioned in a previous post, almost all success for B&W photography lies on you being able to stop seeing in colors and visualize what a certain object/ landscape would look like in B&W. Use the shapes, textures and tones as your guides. First, pick out your main subject – that you want to stand out – then search for subtle changes in texture and tone to add depth to an image.

Do not Ditch the Color

Now that you know how to think in black and white, let us go to rule # 2. Always photograph in color. When you convert a raw file that has the full color information, you will get the best results.

It All Depends on the Subject

Pick a good one! Look at the picture below, it is quite easy to make the subject – tree – stand out when using color, however, in monochrome, it becomes difficult. What can you do then? Use the tonal contrast to make the subject stand out.

Subjects with simple shapes and strong lines defining them are “good” subjects. Also, keep an eye on the areas in darkness since sometimes shadows are what define the shape of the subject. A mostly dark or a mostly light subject – low key and high key, respectively – will work the best.

Bland skies are never a good idea, even though you do not require bright colors in your image. Yes, you can shoot in any light or weather, however, the more solid the base of your image i.e. the subject, the better quality of your finished image will be.

Ensure high-contrast lighting is present by making the most of sunlight. It really enhances graphic shapes. When using your own lighting, use a single light and point it to one side of the subject. The crisp shadow will make your subject more graphic.

Chime in to let us know if this article was helpful. We would also love to hear about your experience with monochrome!

Comments are closed.