Beginner’s Guide to Black and White Photography


With the growth of digital camera technology currently, there has been a delightful revival of black and white photography. There are now new possibilities of producing amazing monochrome images either on the camera or with post-processing software like Photoshop and Lightroom. Black and white are sometimes referred to as an art and only a few professional photographers have mastered the art. This art is sometimes difficult to master and takes a few efforts to get it right. If you are thinking of going the black and white way of photography, take a look at the tips below.

1. Shoot in RAW format

Most of the recent camera models have a black and white camera preset. The feature allows you take photos directly in black and white. It is better to shoot with the RAW format of the camera and use the black and white preset. The raw format gives you enhanced control over the final image. With the RAW format, you are able to view the black and white conversion in the display of the camera. The images displayed on the screen gives you a preview of how the black and white version of the image would look.

2. Use the lowest ISO setting when shooting

Most photographers like using the grainy film in white and black photography but it is best that you use the lowest possible ISO settings for taking black and white photos. In the past, photographers used to include this grainy look to their photos using high ISO settings. Shooting in high ISO leads to image noise. Setting your ISO to the lowest possible setting helps you avoid noise which is necessary for black and white photography particularly in low light situations that could possibly have more grains.

3. Shoot on those grey winter days

If you are looking for a perfect black and white image, then the winter season is the perfect natural condition for that great quality black and white image. The winter season offers an amazing light for black and white photography since the sun is at a lower angle to the horizon. During this time, the sun doesn’t get high, it’s as if it rises and sets more slowly which allows for a flawless image. Also, the cold winter air is usually cleaner and makes it perfect for sharper images.

4. Learn to view the subject in black and white

If you need to get an amazing black and white image, you need to learn to view the world in monochrome colors. Once you’ve trained yourself to see in monochromatic colors, it becomes easy to select situations that are appropriate for black and white photography. You can imagine the subject in black and white before taking the shot. By imagining the subject, you look at it in terms of contrasts, shapes, shadows, and lines. This determines how the ideal image is going to be captured. It also allows you to capture the image in a different angle from what you had initially thought of. The idea here is to get into the black and white mode that would determine how you shoot the particular subject.

5. Shooting conditions

On most occasions, shadows are used in black and white photography to determine details and shapes. In landscape shooting, it is usually best to shoot images at dawn or dusk when the sun is low and the light is soft and even. It is, however, preferable to take images during the day for the perfect black and white photograph. During this period of time, darker images are created which aids in emphasizing the shapes and lines in the composition. You could also try taking photos when directly facing the sun. This produces outstanding shapes of string shapes like windmills and trees against the sky. In general, lighting plays a big role in how shadows are displayed in black and white photography. Excess of color may cause these beautiful shapes to vanish and that’s where black and white photography comes in.


Black and white photographs look perfect when they are shot by a professional artist. A professional artist, therefore, knows all the conditions that make it easy to shoot a subject in black and white. Training is essential in order to achieve the necessary skills. If you use the above tips, you could just be a few days from fully understanding how to take excellent photographs in black and white.

For more, check out 101 Digital Photography Tips!