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7 Reasons to get into black and white photography

By John Bennet

Numerous photographers are looking to get into this type of photography, and in this article, I will provide you with seven reasons why you might want to do the same.

Feature Photo by Jake Davies

#1 – Colors are no Longer a Distraction

Photo by Alberto Bigoni

One of the most important reasons that you might want to consider switching to black and white photography is that you will no longer be distracted by colors. 

 

Things like clothing and color temperature are no longer a distraction, and you can completely dedicate yourself to taking a perfect shoot.

 

Don’t get me wrong; choosing the right background is still vital for a good photo, but once you stop thinking about distractions, you will focus more on critical elements such as lighting and composition of the image. 

 

#2 – It creates drama

Photo by Pham Yen

Black and white photography has a much easier time emphasizing emotions. Once you remove the colors from the photo, our eyes focus more on people’s expressions than insignificant details.

 

This lack of colors tends to create drama in a photo, especially if you are shooting portraits. There is something psychological about black and white colors that makes us emphasize more on human emotions in the image.

 

#3 – It helps you to see the world differently

Photo by Steven Wei

Once you remove the color from your photos, you are automatically increasing the focus of compositional elements, such as shape and texture.

 

Of course, not every photo will look amazing in black and white, but you need to keep in mind what are other factors you need to consider when you don’t have to think about elements of color. 

 

Try to find areas with good contrast and lines that will show a unique perspective when carried over on the image itself. This practice allows you to train your eye for small details that you didn’t notice before.

 

Black and white photography will enable you to see the world differently, which can boost your photography skills in other types of photography.

 

#4 – It emphasizes emotions

Photo by Tom Pumford

Black and white photography is (almost) all about a lack of colors. Usually, when you take the colors out from the picture, it will emphasize human emotions. This is not always the case, but in most situations, the viewer will feel connected to the person in the photo.

 

Like mentioned, when there is no color, you minimize the number of distractions for the human eye, which helps you focus more on the subject itself. 

 

Most photographers use black & white photography when they want to tell a story in the photo and make the person who is watching the photo wonder, “What is the story behind this?”.

 

This method works best when you include people in the photo, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the best examples where you can use black & white photography to tell a story, besides portraits, is when you are shooting monuments. 

 

These places are full of history, and if done right, black & white photography will put a completely different tone while emphasizing emotions.

 

#5 It adds mystery

Photo by Sasha Freemind

While black & white photography changes the perspective of the photo, it can also add mystery. Since there aren’t so many details when you exclude colors, it makes it harder for the human eye to tell what is happening in the photo immediately.

 

 It makes them stop and think about what is actually going on, and if done right, it can create total mystery forcing the viewer to really think about the photo and look at it from different perspectives.

 

#6 –  It Highlights Beauty

Photo by Fezbot2000

Black & White photography doesn’t see race or color of the skin and doesn’t require you to put on makeup to look more beautiful. In fact, powder, pigments, and the distractions on the surface of the skin are much less evident in black & white.

 

It reveals natural beauty in the subject you are shooting and provides you with a tonal range between black and white. Make sure to pay attention to the natural light when shooting portraits in black & white.

 

#7 -Timelessness

Photo by Murray Campbell

Timelessness is one of the most common reasons why people get in black & white photography in the first place. We all still relate black & white photography to the photographic past.

This is obviously not the case since almost every modern camera has a black & white effect. However, because of the way our minds work, we are automatically assuming that the image was taken a long time. 

This has its advantages, as it allows you to capture timeless photos to make the viewer ask itself, “From which period is this photo?”.

 

Conclusion

 

One of the intentions of your photo should be to awaken the emotions in the person who is watching. Black & white photography will help you induce these emotions, as it offers fewer distractions for the viewer. 

You will also start to notice different elements that are also important, but often overlooked or ignored otherwise.

And finally, it will help you boost your photography skills, making you a better photographer.

Black & white photography is not for everyone, but everyone should give it a shot!

 

John Bennet
John Bennet

John Bennet is a photographer & a part-time author of the Lensespro blog. He has been a professional photographer for over six years, and he has great knowledge & passion for camera lenses.