Have You ever Wondered Why Monochrome Photography Never Gets Out of Style? Here’s Why.
Today, we will share with you some tips on how to make better monochrome and black and white photos. Hopefully,these practical tips will serve you well in your interest towards monochrome photography.
1. Shoot with High Contrast in The Black and White Preview Mode
One of the best ways to shoot black and white photography is to see the world in black and white. Now the practical way to do that is to shoot with a high contrast black and white preview. Most DSLR’s today will allow you to shoot in RAW plus JPEG, if so, you can set your the JPEG to monochrome (black and white) which will let you instantly better “see” the scene in monochrome! When you photograph that way, you’ll see be able to have full editing control over the RAW image inside of Lightroom where you can convert the images to black and white in the Develop module.
2. Accentuate the Lights and The Darks
Another good tip for creating powerful black and white photos is to make sure there’s a good contrast between the lights and the darks in the photo.
To see the world in black and white means to see the difference between the lights and the darks. The camera sees the world differently than human beings do, and nobody sees the world in black and white. You can also accentuate the lights and darks by dodging and burning. This essentially means darkening and lightening certain parts of your frame.
3. Role Reversal
Another good tip in monochrome photography is to try to do the exact opposite. Some examples include starting with a white background or a gray background and adding a dark black figure, creating a lot of contrast to the final photo.
4. Isolate the Subject
Another tip to make better black and white photos is to use the photo to isolate your subject. One way to do this is to have an underexposed or dark background. The subject in the photograph becomes well-lit whereas the background becomes pitch black. This is a great way to create a dramatic photo that draws your eye right to the subject.
6. Use Long Exposures
Another good monochrome photography tip is to convert long exposure landscape photos into black and white. It just really seems to add so much “drama” into the image like shown below.
Click here for some of our long exposure photography tips.
7. Edit in Lightroom with the HSL Sliders
One of the best ways I’ve found to create stunning black and whites during editing is to use the “target selector” (looks like a bullseye) in Lightroom in the HSL panel. That stands for: Hue, Saturation and Luminance. Once your photo is converted to black and white you’ll see “B&W” in this panel and that’s where you’ll want to go.
Once you click the target selector, hover over your photo and click and then move your mouse up or down to see the effect you get!
Watch exactly how I do this in this video here:
8. Notice Your Environment
Look for places to shoot where there is a lot of dramatic light, shapes, forms, reflections, and interesting textures. Any of these things will be accentuated with a black and white photo.
Silhouettes are probably one of the best things you can shoot in monochrome photography because you think about film noir and the sense of mystery. One of the easiest ways to get good silhouettes is to look for a strong light source to place your subject against, and to underexpose your subject and expose for the background. You can read more on this here.
Black and white photography can be very powerful. The absence of color allows the eye to be drawn immediately to the area of the image you want to be the focus, and can accentuate the environment or even the emotion of the image.