How to Use Color Filters in Black and White Photography

The most common problem photographers face in black and white photography is that some colors become dead and ultimately the picture loses impact. Normally, this happens with few shades of red, green and blue as they look same in black and white photography.

However, modern day techniques have solved this problem as photographers use color filters to control this color changing phenomena. Though, it is dead easy to use color filters in black and white photography but still you need to keep a couple of important things in mind. Some simple directions can help you in getting the best results.


  • 1

    Know your requirement:

    First of all, you must know what you need. Using color filters is not as simple as you think. It requires depth of knowledge. There are two types of filters for black and white photography, correction and contrast. You should know which filter will help you in getting different tones. For instance, a red filter will turn sky blue color almost black. Similarly, orange filters bring certain kind of depth and contrast in the picture. Yellow filters help you in separating different shades of colors. Most of the photographers do not prefer green and blue filters but these filters are really useful in landscape photography.

  • 2

    Look at the object:

    Before picking a filter, you must study the scene or object you are going to capture. Though, photography is all about the right angle and composition but black and white photography requires more than that. There are some objects that will lose their real beauty in this type of photography so you must keep this factor in mind.

  • 3

    Look for shadow:

    Most of the people believe that one does not need to be worried about shadows in black and white photography. It is right to some extent but sometimes you need to look for the shadows while using filters. It is because a filter tones down its like color but makes the contrasting colors more significant. Review step one for examples.

  • 4

    Pick the right filter:

    You must use the right filter to get the best results. If you are making a portrait then it’s better to use soft-focus filter. This will help you to get a dreamy or hazy effect. Similarly, using polarisers can be really helpful in controlling the glare in black and white photography. A polarising filter also helps you to shoot in bright sunlight.

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