Cee’s Tips and Tricks: Black & White – Part One

This is part one of my Black and White Tips and Tricks series I will share with you some of what I have learned regarding switching a photo to black and white.  This week I will talk about what characteristics to look for to get the highest contrast possible.  I will even show you a couple of photos black and whites which I think don’t work well.

Hint:  Use post processing to turn your photo into black and white.  If you use your camera settings, you could lose a lot of detail and flexibility in adjusting your photos.

Look for Texture

Black and white allows you to see the details of your photography.  The viewer doesn’t get caught up in the color.  You will want to look for photos that have a lot of texture in them.

These clouds have an area that is full of texture and some soft spots.

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This daylily again has a lot of texture on the flower and the background is nice and soft.  The black and white really brings out the texture in the flower.

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However if your photo is overwhelmed with too much texture your photo will loo something like this.  I find it hard to see the detail, because nearly every pixel has a different type of texture.  You have the grass upper left, tree trunk and pine needles.  Your eyes need somewhere to focus on.

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Look For High Contrast

In black and white you want to look for high contrasts in color or shadows.  The more contrast, the bigger the more dramatic your photo will be.

This photo shows subtle blacks, grays and a fairly smooth background.  I think the black and white gives it an interesting effect since all the shades of gray and black are in different places.

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This photo of a young lady on a horse has a lot of color contrast on the original.  I like how you see the movement in her jacket.

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This is a fairly monochrome photo to begin with.  The sun wasn’t shining on the tile bright enough to cause a lo lot of contrast.  The title floor simply looks flat.

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My next Tips and Tricks will be Part Two in this series.

To view my other Tips and Tricks click here.

Qi (energy) hugs

Cee

39 Comments

  1. Thanks! I love black and white photos. I guess I’m going to ditch the B&W settings on my camera though, your tip totally makes sense 🙂 Looking forward to part 2. Have a good weekend!

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  2. Even though I don’t do photography much at all, I really enjoyed the way you gave examples of what works and what doesn’t. The multiple textures one leaves no doubt as to its ineffectiveness. Looking forward to the next set of tips. 🙂

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  3. Really useful tips here, Cee. Sometimes I think an image will work in black and white and then I find it really doesn’t! Now I know what to think about when choosing, I am hopeful this will help. I will watch out for your next post on b/w photography tips too 🙂

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  4. Great advise. I love b & W, they can dramatize a photo and take an ordinary photo and make really stand out. I’d like to offer a tip I hope you’ll go into more detail but b & w can make people look younger. It reduces wrinkles…not that I have any 🙂

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