Many photographers today are drawn to colour photography. Bright, vibrant colours are all around us and are certainly eye-catching. However, black and white photography can be just as impactful. Some subjects and scenes are better suited for black and white treatment.
This article will discuss why you might want to choose black and white landscape photography, when to use it, and how you can create stunning black and white images.
Why You Should Try Black and White Landscape?
There are many reasons why you should try black and white landscape photography. Some of these reasons include the following:
1. Black and White Revolutionizes the Way You See the World
If you are used to seeing the world in colour, black and white will force you to see the world around you differently.
Instead of looking at objects and their colours, you will start seeing the shapes, lines, and textures. This can help you find new compositions you may have never noticed.
2. To Get Better in Composition
One of the best things about black and white landscape photography is that it forces you to think about your composition. It is easy to get caught up in the colours and forget about the composition when working with colour photographs.
Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash
However, when working in black and white, the composition is really all you have to focus on. This can help you to become a better photographer overall.
3. Helps in Shooting in Bad Light
Sometimes the light is just not cooperating, and your colour photographs will suffer. However, black and white photographs can often look better in these situations. The lack of colour can help to create a more moody and atmospheric photograph.
4. Good for Photography That Involves Long Exposure
Many black and white landscape photographs are long exposure photographs. This is because the lack of colour can help to create a more dream-like quality to the photograph.If you want long-exposure photography, black and white is a great place to start.
5. To Give Infrared Photography a Try
If you have ever wanted to try infrared photography, black and white is the way to go. Infrared photography is all about capturing the light that is invisible to the human eye. This often results in some very interesting black and white photographs.
6. To Improve Your Post-processing Skills
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash
When working with black and white photos, you will need to do a lot of post-processing to get the desired results. This can be a great way to improve your post-processing skills. You will learn to use different tools to bring out the best in your photographs.
When to Take Black and White Landscape?
You can take black and white landscape photos in several different situations. Some of them include:
- When the contrast between light and dark is strong, such as in a high-contrast scene with very bright sunlight and deep shadows.
- When you want to emphasize texture or patterns in the scene.
- When you want to focus on the shape and form of the landscape without distractions from colour.
Tips for Stunning Black and White Landscape Photos
When it comes to black and white landscape photography, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your photos are stunning. Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Analyze the Scene
The first thing you’ll want to do is to analyze your desired scene and decide whether it will work in black and white. This is probably the most important step, as a black and white photo won't work if the scene itself doesn't lend itself to it.
Photo by Phoebe Strafford on Unsplash
A good black and white photo should have strong contrast, interesting shapes and textures, and a good range of tones.
2. Consider Your Subjects Original Color
Sometimes, converting a photo to black and white can change how we perceive the subject. For example, a green tree might become a more abstract shape if it's converted to black and white.
If you're unsure whether a subject will work well in black and white, try taking a few test shots in both colour and black and white to see which you prefer.
3. Understand the Composition
Black and white photos are often more about the composition than the subject itself. This is because the lack of colour can make it easier to see the relationships between different elements in the scene.
As such, it's important to take the time to compose your shot carefully. Please pay attention to the lines, shapes, and textures in the scene, and try to use them to create an interesting composition.
4. Equip Yourself with Knowledge on Time and Season
Black and white photos often look best when the light is low.This means that you'll often get the best results if you shoot early in the morning or late in the evening. However, black and white photos can also be stunning in other lighting conditions, so don't be afraid to experiment.
5. Try Shooting the Original Photo in Black and White
Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash
If you're unsure whether a photo will work well in black and white, try taking it in black and white from the start. This way, you can compose your shot with black and white in mind, and you won't have to worry about whether the colours will work well together.
6. Use Neutral Density Filters
Neutral Density Filters can be very useful for black and white landscape photography, as they prevent light from reaching the camera and also change the exposure time. You can use it to create some interesting effects, such as blurring the water or making the clouds look more dramatic.
7. Use the Right Equipment
A good black and white photo often relies on the quality of the equipment that you're using. You'll need to invest in a good camera and lenses, and you might also want to consider using a tripod to keep your camera steady.
8. Have Your Camera in the Appropriate Setting
Ensure that the ISO is set to a low number to avoid noise, and set a slow shutter speed since the slower the shutter speed, the more your camera will capture more details. We recommend an ISO of around 100.
9. Equip Yourself with Knowledge of the Zone System
The zone system controls an image's tone and contrast. If you're unfamiliar with the zone system, it's worth learning about it, as it can be a valuable tool for black and white photography.
10. Remove Yourself from Your Comfort Zone
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash
Black and white photography often requires you to think outside the box. So don't be afraid to experiment and push yourself to try new things.
11. Be Unique
When taking black and white landscape photos, it's important to try to be unique. This means you should avoid taking photos that look like everyone else's. Instead, try to find your style and create truly unique photos.
12. Look For Texture and Tonal Contrast
One of the most important things to look for when taking black and white photos is texture and tonal contrast. This means finding objects that vary in texture, such as rough and smooth surfaces or objects with high contrast between light and dark tones.
Having equipped yourself with the technical know-how, it's time to explore the black and white landscape photography world. Embrace the beauty of contrast, light and shadow. Experiment with composition, and most importantly, have fun.
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