Black and White Photography Tips

Learn to See in Black and White

Portrait of Man Showing Hand Gesture

A strange request I know, to “see things in black and white”, but if you try this technique, you may end up with a lot more photos in your keeper file! Most people when they leave their house with their camera, only think in terms of colour. Try some black and white photography.

Have you ever been out and about wandering through villages or fields, cities or towns and you can’t seem to find anything worth photographing … just “One of those days”! You will get them and it can be quite frustrating. You have made the effort to get your gear together, drive to a favourite spot but just can’t get the creative juices flowing!

As an experiment, the next time you are out on a mission, try to see things as they would appear in a black and white photograph. Black and white photography tends to add mood to a photo and by removing all traces of colour; the onlooker’s eye is more attracted to your subject.

Black and White Portrait of Man Playing Guitar

When should you switch to monochrome photography?

A good example of this was during a photo shoot of a clients daughter below. I took one shot where the look, composition and just about everything was perfect...


Not only did the studio lights not fire, the image was also seriously underexposed. Using Photoshop, I managed to pull back the features and lighten it up. When it was converted to B and W, it looked fantastic.

Portrait of Female Showing Difference Between Colour and Black and White

After converting it to black and white it became one of my all time favourite portraits. It has a real “classic” look to it. Out of over 100 proofs, the parents liked this one the most. They had an A1 canvas print made up which now adorns the main wall in their living room. That is testimony enough for me that “seeing in black and white” can sometimes pay dividends. They spent more than €3,000!

Sometimes, with a little help and guidance, and the right software, you can turn what you thought was a disaster into not only a keeper, but what turned out to be a favourite of both myself AND Emily’s parents! You can read more on these Photoshop tips on the Photoshop hints and tips page.

So remember, if you are having a “down day”, switch your brain into black and white mode and see what you can come up with!

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