It’s called black and white photography, but it’s so much more. There’s the black at one end of the spectrum, white at the other end, and a whole lot of beauty in between. Just like the old black and movies of the 1940s, black and white photographs can appear classic and romantic.
Black and white photography is all about contrast. Texture creates a great deal of interest in a black and white picture. Shooting from different directions and different times of day will produce shadows and shading and result in an entirely different picture of the same subject.
If you’re new to the world of photography, beginning to photograph in the simplicity of black and white allows, or forces, you to focus on the real subject of the photograph and nothing else. You’re not distracted by the color, which can sometimes detract from the picture. Whether you use film or digital, black and white photography is at your fingertips.
Consider investing some time doing research. There are some good books devoted to the art of black and white photography. But nothing can replace experimenting as one of the best ways to learn. Most beginners look for bright, sunny days to grab their camera bags and head out for a day of photography. These conditions aren’t what will produce the most striking black and white images. To get some really amazing shots, take your camera bag and go out early in the morning when there’s some frost or fog across the field, lake, or mountains and take as many shots from various directions to capture the pure beauty of the landscape. Take some shots during an active thunderstorm from your porch or on a gray, misty day in the forest.
Portraits are another photographic category that lend themselves nicely to black and white photography. Where color shows every blemish and blotch on the skin, black and white tends to lessen the flaws of the skin tone and presents a softness. Many brides choose to have some black and whites included in their wedding albums. It adds an elegance and, again, there’s the undeniable romantic touch it lends to the collection of photos.
So watch the weather channel and keep your camera bag stocked and ready for those cloudy, overcast days to shoot some of the most perfect black and whites possible. Have some places already selected that you want to photograph so you don’t waste your day looking for a subject. Make sure you have charged your camera or have extra batteries. And most importantly…HAVE FUN!