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Black and white photography tips and tricks

Isabella Santoro

Photography Editor

Photo by Isabella Santoro

Black and white photography is such a timeless way of portraying real life and other objects. Since most people don’t see only in black and white, these kinds of photos need to be edited to a black and white filter. You also must think about what kinds of photos work best in black and white and which ones don’t. This can be difficult for people to figure out, but here are some tips and tricks on how to make your black and white photos work.

For one, it’s important to note that there is more than one black and white filter on a camera or a phone, depending on which technology you’re capturing your image on. IPhone cameras have multiple black and white filters such as mono, noir and silvertone. Cameras may work a bit differently and offer either more or less of these filters. They aren’t all the same and won’t show off the same features in a picture.


If you’re taking your photo on a phone camera, play around with the few filters available and see which one you like the best. Afterward, you can adjust things such as lighting and exposure to make the photo the best image it can possibly be. The same ideas and concepts work on a camera but may be more difficult depending on the camera you are using. Manuals are always helpful if you’re having trouble working your handheld camera.


Another concept to think about is if the image you’re capturing would look best in black and white. Images that provide a high contrast are great for black and white photography. Both images with a shaded background and that offer a noticeable amount of light and dark will be the best to edit to black and white. As well, portraits, abstract and landscapes are said to be the best types of photography to capture in black and white.


If you’re going for a more vintage feel, you may want to edit your photo to be black and white. Scenes meant to be sad or dark can work in black and white as well. The filter won’t work for a happier image or scenery that gives off that appearance.It truly does depend on the feel and mood of the photograph along with what you’re wanting to capture and invite your audience to see.


Another helpful tip is to be careful with how much or how little light and dark that’s going on in the image. For example, if I have a landscape photo and I want to edit it to be black and white, I would think about which elements are best represented, which depends on what is and isn’t given light and dark to.


It’s also important to consider if the parts of your image will appear in full after editing it to become black and white. One solution for this problem is to consider adjusting the exposure of light and darkness if you want to keep the picture black and white. This can be done on both a professional and phone camera.


Remember that it’s okay to keep editing until you find the exact image you want to capture. Sometimes retaking photos to get the best quality for a black and white picture is required. But just keep in mind to have fun with it, that’s a big part of this craft.


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