Written by Marjorie Dawson

Have You Thought of Taking Cat Photos in Monochrome?

Have You Thought of Taking Cat Photos in Monochrome?

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I wonder if you have thought of taking black and white cat photos in black and white 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.

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 in Monochrome

Harry the Tuxedo in Colour

taking black and white photographs. Harry the tuxedo cat.

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.

An older picture in colour from 2007. compare with the B&W version

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.

The change of a photograph from colour to black and white can be surprising

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.

Staues in colour against a busy background will not stand out.

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.

See how a black and white photograph can bring out the detail and interest

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

Se how blue the sky is and how different it will be in B&W

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.

The change from colour to black and white makes clouds satnd out

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?

Marjorie Dawson

Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.

She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.

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8 thoughts on “Have You Thought of Taking Cat Photos in Monochrome?”

  1. Black and white photographs can be a wonderful thing to do as well as a great exercise in composition and contrast.

  2. I absolutely love b&w photography! It adds so much more drama and depth to photos. Your beach pic is a perfect example; it has such a mood about it. Love it! And it creates such wonderful, beautiful portraits!

  3. I love black and white photos, especially for candid or emotional moments! How lucky we are now to be able to make the choice when we edit instead of loading up the camera.

  4. The black and white images did look a lot sharper. However, I felt that the seascape with the clouds looked better in color. Then we could see the blue sky and that it wasn’t a dreary day (like today in the Chicago area)! I have not taken photos in black and white. Seems like it would be interesting to try.

  5. I love black and white images when they tend to show ’emotion’ in a picture. It’s amazing how beautiful they can be! Great tips – and I will study this as I set out for my photoshoot next week.

  6. Lovely photos! I’m a big fan of black and white photos, although I admit I don’t showcase them very often on my blog or associated social media platforms. Perhaps I’ll have to change that and share more black and white images of my boys.

  7. B&W is becoming one of our favourite ways to present images. You have some great examples there for us this week, too. I do think there is so much more to see when we look at life from the slightly different angle, or as they say, in a different light.
    Appreciative B&W purrs

  8. We do like the black and white look of things! Oops, I forgot to join the hop this morning…will do it now.


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