I wonder if you have thought of taking black and white photographs and seen the difference such a change can make to your pictures? It’s a new area for lots of photographs so let me show what a difference it can make to a photograph.
Why Black and White Photographs?
Regular readers will remember that I wanted to channel my enthusiasm for photography to make sure I use my camera well. I am also working my way through a really good digital photography class which is a lot of fun.
I have enjoyed learning about black and white photography as part of my online photography course so much that I wanted to share the fun and fascination.
I am writing a blog post for beginners to black and white photography and this will be posted next week. It will be packed with hints and tips so that you can try it knowing you are prepared for your first steps. This week I want to share photographs to show the impact of black and white as a preview.
NOTE: These comparisons are created by simply changing to greyscale. I am currently reading about better and subtler ways to change to black and white that give more depth and character.
Strong Shapes Win
Harry the Tuxedo in Colour
There is a subtle change in the photograph that show the power of simple strong shapes.
These monochrome photographs of Harry basking in the sunshine at my favourite cat cafe show an easy first step removing colour, without scaring yourself too much.
Removing Colour can Surprise You
These two images of Dash Kitten, our blog Founder Cat are from 2007. The pictures are not sharp but they effectively demonstrate how taking away a clashing colour can transform a picture.
The burgundy insulated curtain is practical in winter but clashes with Dash’s golden sandy coat. Check out the black and white photo below to see how removing the colour allows attention to centre completely on Dash himself.How would it look in #BlackandWhite? Really good? Or, totally Amazing? Check out our post to find out. Click To Tweet
Remove the Busy Background
These cute piglets taken at a sculpture park are a lot of fun and they look ok, up to a point.
There are good contrasts because of the dappled sunlight but the picture has a busy distracting background of straw, leaves and branches.
Now, look at the black and white version. The piglets look much clearer and you can see three distinct shapes without squinting to figure out how many piglets there are.
The left-hand piglet has overexposed highlights on his head, but these can be dealt with in more skilled post-production than just changing the image to black and white as I did here.
Skies Look Better Too
The last images are a visual change. Here the focus is on sky and also on simplicity. This is the small pier at Eastbourne across the harbour from Wellington city. The bench and lamp post are strong shapes with an interesting cloudscape beyond them.
Photographers who specialise in black and white will always look for strong cloudscapes as these add real drama to a picture. Here the clouds sweeping off into the distance are an almost abstract pattern.
A note on composition. It was difficult to try using the Rule of Thirds here to divide the picture into three planes or areas but the horizon is low giving the sky plenty of attention.
Black and White and You
Have you ever tried black and white pictures? How did they turn out if you did?