I feel that some photos are meant to be black and white for many reasons; because in color they would look very boring and common; because their forms and lines would be lost in a saturated polyphony; because their textures and details would seem insignificant when covered by vibrant hues; because in black and white they evoke the ‘right’ sense and the feelings we want to share with them.
How to figure out which photo to turn in black and white and which to keep in color, it’s rather a matter of intuition and taste, except the case of being an exclusively black and white photographer. The only thing you can actually control is to make the best when you create a black and white photo. And, the basic guidelines is almost the same in every tutorial and article.
I find it more time-consuming. I have my memory cards and my laptop full of raw photos that I have not yet process and published. But shooting in raw is definitely the only way to save the maximum information in every photo; textures, tones, gradients, shadows recovery, more shades of gray and details in highlights are all stored in your RAW file.
How many times I wanted to turn one of my photos in black and white only to discover that the sky or other big surfaces were full of noise, covered with small bright spots everywhere. This is very common in even things that cover a big part of the photo like the sky. A way to avoid grainy appearance is to reduce ISO. ISO 400 and under may give a satisfying result, but keep in mind to adjust shutter speed in order to have sharp images.
In a composition that lacks colors, lightened areas substitute their role; they help us distinguishing objects and areas. Choosing an hour of the day with bright sun would make our monochromatic scene more clear and dramatic because the intensity of light would make the shadows more strong and highlights more bright.
• Top Tips This Month – Theme: Black and White on Nikon In Frame
• 5 Black And White Photography Tips on ditigalphotographyschool.com
• 10 Tips on How to Create Better Black and White Images on bhphotovideo.com
All the photos are my original copyrighted work © All Rights Reserved by Ioanna Papanikolaou