There was a time when black and white photos were the only option, yet even now that we have color, black and white photography remains an irreplaceable art form.
From an artistic viewpoint; color depicts reality. Black and white is an interpretation of reality.
Black and whites display a new dimension with emphasis on shadows, texture, contrast, and lighting. They are timeless. They see the depth and tell the stories beneath the colorful surface. Use these tips to guide you as you experiment with B&W photography through the holiday season.
1. Shoot in color.
Use the power of color and then convert your pictures to black and white on the computer. You will have a greater range of possibilities and more flexibility when using photo editing software to make the conversion. (Exception: when shooting in RAW, a colored version is saved on your camera even if you set it to B&W. Don’t know what RAW is? Don’t worry and continue to shoot in color.)
2. Search for photos that would be better in B&W.
Look for shapes and forms, for texture and tonal contrast. (Tonal contrast is the difference between the shades of the highlights and dark tones.)
3. Find the right lighting.
Low and soft light reveal texture while harsh light washes it out. On overcast days you may think that the lighting is no good, but that is the optimal time for B&W photography. A subject with a lot of form can have a 3D effect with side lighting. Front and back lighting obscure the form and leave the photo in it’s 2D shape.
4. Chose the right background.
A background with too many details may take the focus away from the subject of your photo. Look for backgrounds that will further emphasize the foreground and guide the focus to your subject.
Here is some inspiration: