No Grey Area

Many people tend to see the world in black and white. Things are either right or wrong; forget about the grey area. Interestingly, though, the mentality does not seem to transcend to photography. In my opinion, not enough people appreciate the art of colorless images.

Snapping black-and-white pictures takes a bit more effort than documenting events in color, but not that much more. As long as you remember the following tips you should be on target to capture frame worthy pictures minus the color.

1. Since black and white pictures lack color, shapes and lines are very important details. A black and white photo that is made up entirely of straight lines can look modern, but it can also look flat. To create interest in your shot aim your camera at subjects with varying lines.

2. Take time to focus on subjects that enhance the texture of your shot. Surfaces can become muted when documented in black and white, which is why you want to add as much texture as possible. For example, rather than snapping a shot of your cat on a paved sidewalk, consider having him pose on the grass instead.

3. When shooting any photo you don’t want the background to distract from your subject. However, when you are taking black and white pictures this is even more critical. One way to eliminate distractions is by moving your subject a few feet to the right or left of an object. Another option is for you to move so that you are capturing the subject from a different angle.

4. When taking colorless images, try to use light and shadows to your advantage. Light dictates the mood of a black and white photograph, so before you press your camera’s shutter button experiment with different lighting techniques. For example, you could take a picture of your child on a sunny day, and then take another shot of him on a cloudy day and make modifications accordingly.

Finally, remember that extracting color from photos adds a hint of timelessness, so don’t hesitate to capture different scenes in black and white. The lack of color may be able to bring out emotions you didn’t realize were there.

Related Articles:

Shooting the Perfect Portrait

Telling A Story With Your Shots

Natural Framing

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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.