With digital photography, color photos have always existed, and black and white photos now have become a method of bringing a unique artistic look to photos. Use these tips to help you make the most of your opportunities to shoot in black and white.
- First, make sure you know how to activate the black and white setting with your camera. Most point and shoot cameras have a black and white mode, but it may be hidden among the many menus. Some cameras refer to black and white mode as "monochrome" mode.
- Because some people enjoy using black and white photos as piece of art to hang on the wall, make sure you shoot these types of photos at a high resolution. You'll want to make sure that you have the ability to make prints of these black and white images as large as you want.
- Having said that, some photographers swear by the idea of not using the camera’s black and white mode. Instead, they say, always shoot in full color and then convert to black and white with editing software later for the best possible results. I’d recommend trying both methods and seeing which one works better with your camera.
- Subjects that have a strong backlight are good candidates for black and white photos, as the subject already has a strong shadow on the front, caused by the backlight. You’ll create a natural silhouette photo when shooting in black and white with a strong backlight.
- Look for strong contrasted patterns in your animal subjects, rather than colorful patterns, when shooting in black and white. For example, the patterns on a snake’s skin or on a butterfly’s wings tend to stand out in black and white, giving them precedent over the colors.
- A scene that has a lot of colors that have similar tints will tend to not work as well in black and white, as all of the objects will be a bit muddled. Think about this as you choose subjects for this type of photo.
- One area where photographers tend to not think about black and white images is around water. The idea of capturing the vibrant blues and greens of a lake lends itself to color. However, when shooting a subject around water in black and white, you’ll see the interesting effect of the water turning dark, and leaving reflections in light shades. Even better, if you have droplets of water in the air from a splash, they’ll appear white while reflecting sunlight, often standing out from the dark background of the water.
- Finally, think ahead of time about items and locations that you’ll be photographing in terms of when a black and white photograph would be a good idea. Don’t just see the subject and its colors; look for patterns, and try a few black and white images when appropriate. Black and white photos typically are best used in small doses, so don't use this type of photography all of the time. Pick and choose your spots.