Embracing Black and White

I’m a huge fan of black and white photos; however, I struggle to get my monochromatic images to look as sophisticated as ones taken by professionals. Still, I am not abandoning the dream. Recently, I converted a dozen or so beach photos to black and white in hopes of highlighting the different textures within the shots. Some photos turned out better than others, which proves that black and white photography is not always as easy as it appears.

I think a lot of amateur photographers figure they can’t go wrong converting random color images to black and white. While pointing and shooting black and white photos is a no brainer, it is vital that you consider contrast if you want to end up with frame worthy monochromatic pictures. Exceptional black and white photos feature a strong contrast between the foreground and the surrounding environment. To enhance the overall look of a black and white portrait, it’s a good idea to have your subject sport solid color clothing, as bold patterns and busy prints can turn out to be an eye sore in monochromatic images.

When taking black and white photos it is also critical that you have proper lighting. Consider using as much natural light as possible. If you are shooting outdoors, aim for the “golden hours” which take place in the early in the morning or late in the evening, to reduce harsh shadows. Black and white landscape photos are some of the most beautiful and artistic images.

These days’ camera manufacturers are making it easier than ever for hobby shutterbugs to embrace black and white photography. Many digital cameras have a setting that will let you snap black and white photos with the touch of a single button. In addition, photo editing software programs make it a cinch to convert color images to black and white photos with a simple click of a mouse.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.

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