2What is Monochrome Photography? Monochrome Photography is photography where the image produced has a single hue, rather than recording the colours of the object that was photographed.It includes all forms of black and white photography, which produce images containing tones of grey ranging from black to white.
7Why Black & White Photography? VersatilityIt suits almost any type of photography. Portraits, landscapes, urban landscapes, architecture. Not only that, it’s a medium that adapts really well to all lighting situations. Whereas colour photography often works best on sunny days or in brightly lit studios – low light just makes a black and white image moody.No DistractionsColours can be terribly distracting in some images and can take the focus away from your subject.
8Why Black & White Photography? Subtlety of Tones The subtlety of tones that black and white images have can be amazing . We live in a world that often boasts about how many millions of colours a TV or monitor is able to produce, but in a ‘Mono’ photograph there is such a variety of what can be achieved with so many shades of grey Variety The creative process with black and white images is so… artistic. It’s like moulding clay – you can shape it into a myriad of shapes. Black and White images can be strong, high contrast and powerful – or they can be so soft, gentle and subtle.
9Learning to see in B & WTraining yourself to envision a scene in black and white will help determine if it will work in that state, or if it would be better left to colour. Since you won’t have colour in the final shot, you’ll need to visualize the core of the scene instead:How is the light behaving on the objects in the scene?What forms are involved?Are there lights, darks, and shades in between, giving you a good tonal range?
11Good Subjects for B & W photography Contrast, Shape and FormOne of the fundamental aspects of black and white photography is that your whole composition relies on contrastFor this reason, look out for subjects that feature simple, strong lines and shapes. It’s often the shadows that define shape and form, so pay attention to areas of darkness, as well as light.
12Good Subjects for B & W photography ToneBlack and white photos actually include a whole range of greys, which add subtlety to your images. Normally, you look for subjects that will translate into a range of tones from black to white, but you can also get great results where the subject is mostly light (high-key) or dark (low-key).
13Good Subjects for B & W photography Texture and DetailFine detail, or strong textures such as weather-beaten stone, foliage or clouds, can help to give your black-and-white shots depth and interest. Strong side lighting is perfect for bringing out the texture in any subject. You can use strong natural light, or get creative with flash to create side lighting on the subject.
14Good Subjects for B & W photography Graphic CompositionBlack-and-white images need strong compositions to really work. Keep an eye out for strong lines or features in your scene that can be used as leading lines, or positioned diagonally across the frame to create dynamic images.
15Bad Subjects for B & W photography Bland SkiesIt’s easy to think that because you don’t need bright colours you can shoot black and white photography in any light or in any weather.It’s certainly true that with some skillful conversion and adjustment in Photoshop post-shoot you can add drama , but the sturdier the building blocks the better your finished image will beSo, unless you’re trying to create a minimalist image it’s worth taking the time to capture maximum detail in the best lighting conditions
16Bad Subjects for B & W photography Safeguarding MoodIf the scene you’re shooting relies on colour for mood or impact, chances are you’ll be better off keeping the image in colour, as in our mushroom image above. Sunrise or sunset shots are another good example; you should always ask yourself whether the image loses some impact without the subtle hues
17Bad Subjects for B & W photography Colour ContrastsSubjects that rely on contrasting colours – such as a purple crocus against a green lawn – generally don’t work well in black and white. This is because the two colours will end up looking similar in tone when converted.
18Getting StartedWhen shooting a scene with an eye to creating a mono image, select the Monochrome Picture Style on your D-SLR: this enables you to see images in black and white when reviewing them on your LCD, or shooting using Live View mode Always shoot in RAW or RAW + JPEG
19Getting StartedAll you have to do is to select Monochrome in your camera’s menu. Look under Picture Control for Nikon cameras or Picture Style for Canon cameras.
34B & W Conversion Software Google Nik Software Silver Efex ProCost $149 ( £91) – comes with HDR Efex Pro – Viveza – Color Efex Pro + othersPower Retouche B & W studio -$30 (£18.50)Topaz B & W Effects - $60 (£37)BW Workflow Pro - $19 (£12)
35Final ThoughtsTo get the best B & W photographs try shooting with black and white in mind -and you may get some spectacular results