Black and White Photos are of a timless beauty. The lack of color creates artwork far from reality, it’s a kind of abstaction. Common items appear in a new shape. One of the most famous photographers was Ansel Adams. His b & w photographs are exposed in the biggest art museums all over the world.
If you’re intersted in b & w photography then study his books. He created a unique technique for the best tonal range and contrast, he called it the “zone system”. The results with this system and his 8×10 inch camera are amazing.
Why do b & w photos fascinate us so much? We are used to see the world in colors, what’s around us, on TV, magazines, mowies. Colors everywhere sometimes it’s an overload. Here black & white photography comes in to provide a nice contrast.That attracts attention.
Some clever marketers know this. That’s why some commercials come in b & w, just to outstand from the horde of other colorful and loud commercial spots. Maybe you remember the campaigns of Kalvin Klein. His spots for fragrances are very quiet and in b & w. This gives an sophisticated touch to the product. This you can do with your photography too. Give this touch to your pictures. Especially portraits are great in b & w.
Black and White photography needs some practice and experience. But it is well worth, to try it out. Not all subjects are perfect for this approach.
In digital photography many things have become easier. While photographing b & w with film you have to fix colored filters to enhance the picture and increase contrast. First of all you had to decide, what kind of b & w film you want to load, a grainy 3200 ISO or a slow fine grain portrait film.
Today, we can take the pictures as usual with our digital camera, what means, we will store a color picture. Then we convert it to b & w in our computer and use digital filters for the effect we want. With any imaging software you can do this. Although there are different techniques to get different results.
Some cameras offer the feature, to take the picture directly in b & w. Consider that you have better tools and a better processor in your computer. I personally prefer the computer and Photoshop. These techniques we will cover later.
Now let’s have a look at a picture of this young juggler I took under low light conditions. It was in a circus and there was only artificial light. As you know this creates “wrong” colors. Well you could fix the color temperature in Photoshop but I prefered to convert the photo into black and white. Compare the pictures. I like the B&W; version more. It has more impact.