Tips for B&W Photography

Introduction: Tips for B&W Photography

When shooting in B&W, one must put texture, lines, contrast, and composition to good use. Without flashy colors to draw viewers in, the black-and-white photographer either masters the principles of composition or perishes. The things I have found useful when taking B&W photos are as follows:

Step 1: Enhancing Shadows

See pics. If you want to emphasize a shadow, shoot it in black and white. A lot of times, shadows are the entirety of a picture.

Step 2: Patterns and Lines.

Some other important things to look for are intricate patterns and lines, intersecting at crazy angles. Or just plain patterns and lines intersecting and normal angles. Either works and looks just as good. A lot of times, taking color photos of them looks good too!

Step 3: Textures

Textures are another important thing to note. Textures are everywhere. You can find them from the brick wall of your house to death valley in Arizona. Or a leaf to a cloud. A blade of grass. You get the "picture". Ba dum BUM! Aaanyway... Textures usually look every bit as good in color as in black and white.

Step 4: The Magic 7

I don't know why, but for some reason, pictures with lines and angles that make the number seven just look awesome!!! See picsif you don't believe me.

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    When I was doing B&W with real film and photo paper one of the things we learned to do was to get what was called an absolute black and an absolute white in every print. The way to judge this was to take a sheet of print paper and cut it in half then take one half into the room light so it was completely exposed. Then develop both half's. This then let you know what your paper was capable of. Any print we made from that paper was compared to those tests to assure that we had an absolute black in every picture.

    We also had some tricks we could do in the printing that is difficult to achieve with software. For example, in your first picture what I would have done is to burn in the lighter area behind the cat to darken it down. Burning in means to use a piece of cardboard with a hole in it and do an exposure that would add extra light exposure to that area making it print darker. In this case darkening that down will make the center of focus stand out more. At the same time I would have used a poly contrast filter with a higher contrast to expose the cat so its contrast would be greater and again would help it stand out. Finally after the print was made I would use Spottone and paint in the little dirt and gravel spots around the cat so they were darker and less distracting to the main image. You might be able to do those things with software. It would be fun to try.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    WOW, Cool! You're probably right there! I might just try that sometime! ;)