Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography: Everything about Black and White Photography

Black and white photography is just like a history lesson that brings you back to the very basics of the art of photography, when pictures were first taken without color information.

These pictures were taken with films which soon became a 'specialist' genre with the introduction of colour film and processing these black and white negatives became more and more costly and unprofitable for local businesses.

Currently the popularisation of digital editing of pictures using sophisticated software such as Photoshop made it possible to reproduce the effects of a monochrome photo by deriving it from an actual full-colour digital camera rather than for a specified camera that is dedicated to taking such images.

The advantage is you can tweak and alter your color original to any mixture of "developing" style that you want without additional cost, and still have the original full colour image available!

Currently, the monochrome function in most cameras still exist, but the more popular way to render such images is still to take a picture in colour, and to convert it into black and white using photo editing software, the more popular among photographers being Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.

Black and white photography concentrates on the contrast that is in the picture which is thus the main focus of the picture in the absence on colours and focus on contrast and textures.

In monochrome photography, it does not mean the photo contains only black and white hues, but also the millions of shades of grey between solid pure black and pure white. As such the grey in the picture would present a totally different feel to the picture than in colour.

An effective B&W photo with a wide range of midtones and greys allow the showcasing of contrast and textures between different objects in the picture, and thus injects a large dose of realism into your picture as it could have more feel than with a picture without as much contrast in the picture - commonly known as a 'flat' photo.

Developing the eye to 'see' mono in a coloured world is critical as the scene loses colour information and replaced by grey hues, you must be able to identify which color shade will provide the best contrast when converted into a black and white photo.

Shadows plays an important part in the picture as it defines shape, structure, and feel of the photograph all by itself. Learning how to read shadows is critical for effective black and white photos.

Remember the coloured filter used during the film days? Photographers before use coloured filters to add contrast and alter the intensity of certain color spectrum on a film negative.

For example, yellow filter would render certain scenes a bit lighter while more solid colours such as navy blue or brown would result in a more solid grey or even black. In digital black and white, the same effect can be adjusted using the individual color channels available when converting a colored photo to a black and white photo.

Black and White Photography


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