The Lost Art of Black and White Photography

Black and white photos seem to be a thing of the past. Many think color prints are the best because our eyes see in color. Black and white film also takes longer to develop and is a bit more costly. It can also be harder to find in your neighborhood store. Why bother then, right?

Black and white photos can be quite exciting. The tones of these two colors give a photo or portrait a most sophisticated feel at times and give new dimensions to every day items. Black and white can also give a luxurious and elegant feel to photos.

Take landscape shots, for example. A simple shot of a sand dune in color is, well, a sand dune. Take away the rich color and that dune suddenly seems forlorn and mysterious. The meadow behind your house will become a whole different place if shot without the full spectrum of color. Black and white can be a great way to add emotion to your shots you might not otherwise be able to capture.

Clouds can look dramatic and ominous in black and white. If you are shooting clouds in this manner, you should opt for a color filter. The color won’t appear in the photo of course, but it will help bring out the dimensions and details of the clouds.

Next time you go see your favorite performer live, take a long a roll of black and white film. Though stage lighting and props make for wonderful color photographs, but the affects of black and white can be just as dramatic, if not more so. The same can be side for your next family picnic. Aim for non-posed shots of family members.

Professional photographers use black and white quite often and one great example of this is portraits. These can be in a studio or candid shots elsewhere. Any wedding photographer worth his or her salt will offer to take at least some of your wedding photos in black and white. They come out simply stunning!

With black and white film you won’t need to worry about white balance but you will need to be more concerned with your lighting source. You will need a bit more light to capture your subject effectively. Try to keep subjects out of shadowed or low-lit areas. If you are shooting portraits indoors be sure to sufficiently light the subject to avoid harsh shadows.

When purchasing black and white go for a low speed film. These will produce the best shots. Lower speed shots can be magnified quit extensively before they begin to appear grainy or stretched out. If you will be in lowlight situations, go for a higher speed. Black and white comes in 35mm rolls just like your color film.

If you have a digital camera, there may be a black and white setting. You can also change your color shots into black and white with photo processing software like Picture It or Adobe Photoshop. A few simple clicks of your mouse can change the mood of your photo dramatically.

You may have to experiment with black and white film before you can capture the look you want, but the investment is worth it if you are looking for truly unique and unforgettable shots. Once you try it, you may find yourself using it more and more, and you will notice your family album has taken on a whole new and wonderful dimension.

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