When to Use Black and White in Photography? And many people today in this digital world, they say to themselves “I can always convert it later.” But the truth is that, the visualization of the final photograph, imagining the scene in black and white when shooting sometimes helps a lot. Perhaps, a filter is what that is needed – either we need to use optically or electronically – a red filter to darken the sky, a green filter to lighten the foliage, a yellow to lighten the skin of a person. Another important point to consider is the tonal value. The tonal value of the subject may influence the composition. What is meant by tonal value? If the subject has green and blue as main colors the tonal value will be almost the same in black and white. Behind the query, when to Use Black and White in Photography, there are indeed, lot of points.
When to Use Black and White in Photography : Considering Tonal Values
Going back to the old days like those of the Black and White film, we used a trick. Find a piece of dark glass. The sunglasses are fine, but they should be very dark with no other color than of shades of black. Close one eye and look through the glasses with the eye open. The glasses effectively remove all the colors. You are now seeing the scene in tonal values ??(levels of light and dark).
When to Use Black and White in Photography : Consider When the situation has an unpleasant color balance
White Balance, Color Balance and Color Temperature are some of the important points which we need to consider when it is about a Black and White Photography. A fluorescent light or sodium vapor lighting, both unnaturally casts color in the image. It is true, you may set the proper white balance. But if you are using a flash this will make the color temperature wrong.
You could settle after a lot of work, but it gets complicated. What makes that scene you saw perfect for black and white is action ? When to Use Black and White in Photography ? You can understand there are many points to learn, may be you still have not discovered despite spending a decade with your camera.
By removing the color, we direct the eyes to the repeated motifs and therein lies the true interest of photography. Then, the rest of the image becomes a secondary part of the composition. The choice of black and white to the image takes this ordinary situation and turn it into an piece which makes us thoughtful.
When there is not much color from the beginning
Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where there simply is not a lot of color : a foggy day, an overcast day, a scene that is all white, a scene that is all black, a scene that is all of one color, a scene that has an excessive contrast. The image of black and white creates a strong visual impact, while a color version would distract the viewer. The sharp contrast of black and white draws attention to the main subject in the foreground. The face can become the point of attraction.
When you want to emphasize a repeating pattern
When you “delete” the color, the composition tends to focus more on the composition, the form and tone. If you are curious about a subject that present a repeating pattern, consider switching to black and white, especially if the color of the subject has little to do with what you are trying to say. Nothing does more justice to an interesting face than one image in black and white carefully crafted. The very nature of the medium enhances the skin and the texture of the hair. The subject’s eyes become tonal spheres that penetrate the attention of viewers. We need to remove the distraction – may be a key point for your works.
Imagine a woman is wearing a denim and a blue coat and the man wearing green shorts and a black jacket, do you think black and white will give high impact ? No, of course not, not in the sense by the composition, the juxtaposition of the shapes of the bodies, the key colors of youth completely are the points against such subjects. When you have strong graphical elements in the composition consider to neutralize the color. The color can simply become a distraction.
Subjects with high contrast and an image with too much noise
Noise is a big problem in digital photography. Rendering to black and white makes the photograph usable.
Sometimes we face high contrast. Maybe you are photographing a building in the midday sun. High-contrast scenes tend to produce weak color images. The camera has difficulty for recording accurate color for technical reasons. The use of the high contrast black and white has turned this head in any artistic statement.
A situation can be the Judge itself
Black and White can excite the emotions. Read an relatively unrelated article – Deep Focus in Digital Photography. In cinematography, we use a different angle while we need to excite or call back a specific emotion with either monochrome or black and white. Sepia and Black and white can never have the exact effect on mind.
A tip when shooting RAW – shoot in black and white. You might take another photograph in color. There is a god difference in taking in color and later working on Adobe Photoshop versus a RAW that is black and white. There are various technical reasons, but know this is a big point. Another point is to use various optical filters.
Anyway, as we were near to the end of this article, we are continuing with the artistic part – emotion. Black and White can add pathetic emotion to otherwise a happy scene. This is basically a borderline topic which only a third person can understand who is completely unaware of the materials, subject or context of the photograph. Recall when we use Black and White in cinematography. Do we ever show a happy wedding in Black and White ? If we take a photograph in Black and White of a bride who is staring away or a kind of tearful – we are not used to wear the wedding dresses everyday – really. It can cast a different emotion. Depending upon the facial expression, the background, it might force the viewer to think – there is a sadness behind. Because simply we subconsciously know the fact – Black and White is a choice, we can use the color, unlike in the Black and White film days, our mind tries to understand – the reasoning of using Black and white.
When to Use Black and White in Photography actually returned many questions apart from some tips and these questions will lead you to think in a different way.