How To Take Better Black And White Photographs


Black and white photographs are in a class of themselves. They often offer greater clarity and add a mood to photographs that is unique.

Try a Google image search for “Celebrity + black and white” replacing Celebrity with your favorite celebrity’s name, and you will find numerous quality black and white images that are probably better than their colored counterparts.

Here are some tips on how to take better black and white photographs.

black and white photography tips

Image source: innervision, close-up portrait of a good looking beautiful young man in costume outdoors ©

For inspiration visit Depositphotos and search for “black and white” and you will get some good image results that may give you ideas on how you want to take your photos.

See the world in black and white

Of course our eyes see the world in colors but in order to succeed in black and white photography it is important that you train your eyes to see the world in shades of grey.

A green tie may look awesome on a blue shirt but when converted to black and white, if those colors turn out to look similar, the result will be a dull and uninteresting picture.

It will take some time and practice to develop an eye for black and white. One way to help you is that before taking an image, try to imagine it in black and white. Then take that image in black and white and see how it compares to the one you imagined.

The black and white pictures which turn out the best usually enhance the differences in tones or contrasts between the different parts of the picture. This is done either by the camera filters or by using Photoshop.

Also, great black and white photos make good use of shapes, textures, lines and lighting.


Fog and mist have the capability to lower the contrast of the scene and hence create a soft, romantic feel to an image.

When the atmosphere is misty or foggy the world has already lost most of its color. It is ready to be photographed in black and white.

Rush out with your camera and shoot some black and white images before the mist rolls off.


Although contrast between the different tones of an image is important in all types of photography, but it becomes of paramount importance in black and white photography.

A natural way to add contrast to your picture is by choosing your subjects appropriately. Even if there is not enough lighting in the scene, a well thought out strategy will work best. For example, if you photograph a red flower blossoming amongst a collection of white flowers, you will get a good contrast.

The nature of the light present in a scene and the direction in which it flows are two very important factors that will affect the final contrast.

Bright sunshine in the outdoors will create hard shadows which you can utilize upon to create images with strong contrasts.

The direction of the light can be influenced by shifting your position and shooting at certain times of the day.

Shape and form

Focusing your attention on interesting shapes can prove to be a good way of crafting high quality images.

In order to highlight an object’s outline there has to be a tonal variation between the subject of your photograph and the background of the image. One good way to achieve that is to reduce the focal point to a silhouette.

You can base the exposure of the camera on the bright background, take an average reading, and select a foreground subject that will be easily recognized in the image.

It is also useful to have a good understanding of the impact that form has on your picture.

Adjusting your relationship to light will show improvements. Moving at an angle between 45 degrees and 90 degrees will display a heightened sense of volume because in this position the shadows will fall on the far side of your subjects.

Adding selective colors

Let’s say you took an image in colors but now as post production you are converting it into black and white. But you want to highlight one particular item or object.

Leave a comment below telling us what you thought of this article and if you’d like to see more tutorials and guides.


About Author

%d bloggers like this: