When to shoot in black and white

man, hands, fingersBlack and white images have a certain powerful presence that warrants attention. Plus, the absence of color allows us to focus on it a lot more, which is why most teachers insist their students learn photography in black and white. But every subject does not look good in B&W; certain scenes demand color and would not look good in monochrome. On the other hand, at times, a picture is simply made for B&W and color would ruin it. Here are a few instances when you should shoot in black and white.

When there are textures and shapes

Strong cut-out shapes and coarse textures, such as raw wooden surfaces and the wrinkles on an old man’s face, tend to lose their essence in color, but shoot them in black and white and the stark shades of grey will make them pop-out and look incredibly beautiful.

When there are interesting shadows

Stark shadows don’t always look that great in color, and most people will tell you to shoot in the golden hour to get the soft shadows of the evening sun. However, the stark lines and shapes the midday shadows form can look very interesting in black and white, creating abstract shapes of their own that would be lost in color.

When you see Tonal range and Contrast

When you see a subject with a large difference between its lightest and darkest areas, lots of tones in between, and lots of contrast, you can be sure it would look quite amazing in B&W, as the contrast will jump out more and there will be lots of tones of grey to enjoy.

When you see monochrome subjects

Subjects that already don’t have a lot of color would make great compositions for B&W photos, as colored images might render them plain and boring.

When you shoot an abstract subject

With B&W, you can turn a lot of subjects into abstract shapes, especially textures in close-up or shadows forming shapes. When you have a predominantly abstract subject to shoot, B&W will definitely enhance it further by removing the distractions of color and reducing the composition further into only shapes and angles.

When there is bad weather

Clear blue skies and beautiful sunlight is always a pleasure to shoot in color as you see so many hues pop out. However, cloudy and rainy days can turn everything grey. On these days, you shouldn’t be too disappointed as this is the perfect chance to do some amazing black and white photography!

When you want to create a mood

B&W photos have a certain quality- call it vintage, dark, melancholy, or charming. When you’re looking for photographs that are more than meets the eye, that convey a certain mood rather than just a visual, go for B&W as it will certainly help you say what you want to say.
If you want to create some amazing B&W photos, it is important to know exactly when to use it, and which subjects will turn out best when robbed of color. Learn to see things in black and white and soon you won’t need help trying to figure out when to shoot in monochrome.

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