100 Express Tips to Photograph in Black and White (And Fall in Love)

Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I have a weakness for black and white, so I suppose it was logical that I would try to break down the secrets and mysteries of black and white photography in 100 express tips, as we have done in recent weeks with 100 Quick Tips for Photographing Landscapes, 100 Tips for Photographing Babies and Children, and 100 Quick Tips for Achieving (Your Best) Portraits. Do you want to meet them? Read on then ;-). But first, if you want to delve deeper into black and white photography, be sure to go through our mega guide where you will find all the extended information with more tips and tricks.

  1. Learn to think in black and white.
  2. Forget the color and focus on the lights and shadows,
  3. in the way,
  4. in the composition…
  5. and above all in emotion, black and white is pure emotion.
  6. Think before you shoot, is this scene a good candidate for black and white photography?
  7. If you can’t, set your camera to monochrome to see how the image will turn out.
  8. But make sure the final image is in raw,
  9. or failing that in colorSo you will keep much more information and quality to retouch the image to your liking and get your own adjustments.
  10. Look for inspiration in black and white and soak up black and white images.
  11. Learn to translate color to grayscaleit will help you to preview the image.

  12. Less is more. simplify your frames, it will help you work on the composition and focus the interest.
  13. Work the lines.
  14. diagonal lines: are lines with a lot visual tension and strength and they create very interesting perspectives, completely break the schemes of your look and, consequently, make them stand out more than the rest.
  15. Horizontal lines: we usually associate horizontal lines with tranquility, peace and stillness. You can use them as a formal element in itself to divide or organize your image from them.
  16. Curve lines: are the ones most associated with movementthey are fluid, soft, sensual and elegant, and allow you to ‘walk’ your gaze slowly around the frame.
  17. Vanishing point: is the place where converge two or more parallel lines (real or imaginary) towards infinity in an image. Vanishing points add a sense of depth and three-dimensionality to the image.
  18. Remember odd rule (the magic of the number 3) that naturally attracts interest.
  19. Break composition rules when necessary πŸ˜‰
  20. work and meet the light.
  21. The shadows give a lot of play in black and white.
  22. Just like the backlights.
  23. Play with the visual rhythm through the pattern repetition.
  24. But don’t forget about break it from time to time to increase the interest of the image.
  25. Photography at any time of day and with any light, since each moment brings different sensations and effects.
  26. During the central hours of the day you will have high contrast images.
  27. During sunrises and sunsetsthe light will be softer and more diffuse and you will have less contrast.
  28. Be that as it may, remember that contrast is key in black and white, since it allows us to highlight elements and focus interest.
  29. Experience techniques such as high-key photography.
  30. And of course also with the low key.

  31. Work the abstraction from the way.
  32. The textures they are a compositional element more than in monochrome they take on special importance as they do not have colors to work with.
  33. Try stones, wood (trunks, doors…), or iron.
  34. Remember that the side light It is the one that enhances the textures.
  35. Add a human element to heighten interest.
  36. Activate your camera’s histogram to check the highlights at the ends of the graph and make sure you don’t have any burnt or underexposed areas.
  37. Remember that the left part corresponds to the shades and the right part at lights.
  38. In black and white it is more difficult to recover the shadows than the lights, don’t underexpose.
  39. As long as they exist in the original scene, make sure your image has pure white and pure blackas well as intermediate shades of gray, will ensure a good tonal variety.
  40. The Meteorological phenomena they are a unique opportunity for black and white photography because of the emotion they convey and the originality of the images you can achieve.
  41. The fog is very suggestive in black and white. The light is scattered, the contrast is reduced and it evokes mystery.
  42. The rain It also offers a multitude of opportunities: drops, puddles, umbrellas…
  43. The cloudy days they are much more photogenic in black and white than in color, don’t waste them πŸ˜‰
  44. Landscapes can be great protagonists of black and white.

  45. Take advantage of natural frames in your compositions.
  46. Play with the long exposure in black and white…
  47. With lights, water (silky effect of water), stars and even clouds.
  48. Pay attention to the details what is around you.
  49. Look for subjects that work well in monochrome:
  50. the everyday,
  51. the childhood,
  52. old age,
  53. the documentary,
  54. streetphotography,
  55. The portraits,

  56. architecture and its lines.
  57. Practice with macro photography.
  58. And if the budget doesn’t give you, turn the lens around ;-).
  59. take care of the center of interestmake sure the eye doesn’t wander into the frame.
  60. Come closer and fill the frame (fill the frame).
  61. Apply the rule of thirds.
  62. Take advantage of negative space in black and white: some inspiration here.
  63. look for reflectionsThey give a lot of play:
  64. reflections in puddles on the floor, in glass, in mirrors…

  65. The skies with clouds much better, they are much more interesting.
  66. Keep ISO lowin black and white, the noise is more evident than in color.
  67. Or, if you prefer, increase the ISO and play with noise.
  68. add movement to the scene
  69. Take care of the background, remember that color is not a decisive element, but what appears in it, the textures, etc.
  70. Learn to use the color Filters,
  71. red filter: its opposite is cyan blue. So it lightens the red and darkens the blue (very useful for Black and White skies).
  72. yellow filter: absorbs ultraviolet and blue light. Like red, they darken certain shades of blue, and are useful for lightening skin in portraits, since skin has a high degree of yellow.
  73. orange filter: Eliminates ultraviolet and blue light. It is mainly used to darken the green areas of the image (foliage).
  74. green filter: Darkens red and certain shades of blue and lightens green and certain shades of yellow, useful for bringing out the different greens in, for example, a landscape.
  75. A polarizer will help you eliminate reflections and darken the sky. They are very useful for landscapes.
  76. play with geometry; everything that is formal is a good candidate for monochrome photography.
  77. The bokeh It is not something exclusive to color, practice it in black and white too.
  78. practice photography of smoke.

  79. Don’t forget either double exposure.
  80. The scale to convey the size of elements is another resource you can use in your monochrome images.
  81. Search different and original points of view.
  82. work the depth through the different planes of the image.
  83. If you take into account the emotion linked to black and white images, you can use it in your speech.
  84. Like timelessness, elegance, romanticism or nostalgia, among others.
  85. Try the vignetting (darken the margins), helps draw attention to the center of the image.
  86. Photography everyday objectsset up a mini studio at home, play with home lights, with reflections, shadows…
  87. Be original, look for different frames, vary the point of view, play with perspective, depth of field or abstract images.

  88. dedicate a season of your life, that is, do not limit yourself to choosing an image in front of the computer to transform into black and white. Propose a time (1 month) where your entire photographic life is limited to black and white.
  89. The immersion and practice They are the only way to learn.
  90. So work on all the disciplines and topics you can think of…
  91. because deep down, everything is capable of being photographed in black and white.
  92. Find a topic that interests you and make a complete black and white photographic series (flowers, windows, documentaries, benches, pigeons, children, the elderly… whatever you can think of, anything goes).
  93. learn to editis basic to finish expressing your narrative.

  94. in lightroom:
  95. through desaturation, color by color desaturation, or automatic conversion to black and white. All information here.
  96. in photoshop:
  97. via the channel mixer, desaturation, hue and saturation, grayscale, black and white mode, channel mixer, or gradient map. All information here.
  98. share your work on some social network or web, do not keep it just for yourself. You will learn a lot from others and others from you ;-).
  99. Find your style, get inspired but without copying.
  100. And above all, enjoy, enjoy and enjoy, because there are other things to have a bad time ;-).

Bfff there it is! What did you think? What do you think if you put them into practice right now and give us a few images of your creation participating, for example, in the inspiration? πŸ™‚ You give meaning to all our efforts, so thank you for reading this far, for sharing it if you find it interesting and, above all, for putting it into practice. Regards and until next time.