How to Get Topnotch Black and White Digital Photography

Black and white images have been considered by many people as a thing of the past since the arrival of color photography. But for those people who see photography an art, of black and white photography is a thing of the present. Now, using your digital camera, you can easily give black and white photography a try.

Choosing black and white

Many believe that removing color from a photo can make it lifeless. On the contrary, black and white photos are full of drama. In fact, removing color can add something to the photo. It reveals details that you would not have noticed in color. Sometimes, color obscures the form and texture of your subjects. What is good about black and white photography is that you can can highlight the structure of an object or a scene using even the simplest digital camera.


What kind of lighting conditions should you look out for? In landscape photography, look for “active skies” – the worst conditions are often featureless gray overcast skies or clear blue cloudless skies as they become dull in black and white prints. But sometimes even apparently featureless gray skies can have intricate texture, which you can bring out in black and white prints. When you think of black and white digital images, the absence of light is as important as the highlights.

Look for lighting conditions that will give you good deep shadows, which can give a solidity and depth to an image or a scene. Shadows are one of the most important features of your composition. Go out at night and you will see deep shadows and light sources. In addition, if you have the sun behind you when you take a photo, you will find it difficult to bring out the higher contrast people often look for in black and white digital photography.


You have all the basic rules in photography to look at and use as necessary. If you want to emphasize the object or the scene’s geometric structure, look for lines lines that guide the eyes into the picture, or curves suggesting a “flow” or movement. And you must not forget the basic rule of thirds. You can get an idea for your composition by checking out other’s work and go for the images that are instantly appealing. If you have to think hard about a photo to like it, then it is probably not a good photo. Composition in black and white digital photography is not primarily an intellectual exercise.

Conversion to black and white

You can create black and white digital pictures by setting your digital camera to black and white mode and shoot a photo. Another way, which is better, is taking color photos and then converting them to black and white with the help of photo editing software. The second way is suggested because with a color photograph, you can undo your black and white conversion if needed. Or if you want, you can leave the photo as is. In addition, you get better results as your digital camera’s black and white picture only has 256 shades of gray. On the other hand, a colored photo has more than 16 million colors, which will result in a great photo once converted into black and white. Lastly, it gives you more control.

Photo editing software

Most digital cameras have their own photo editing software CD. Here are some of the most popular software titles: Photoshop CS3 (Win, Mac), Photoshop Lightroom (Win, Mac), Photoshop Elements (Windows), GIMP (Win, Mac, Unix), and Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 (Windows). Nearly all editing software come with contrast/brightness adjustment and grayscale conversion. But using only these two features will not give you the best photos. You should choose editing software that have the following features: levels adjustment, grayscale conversion, channel mixer, desaturation, curves adjustment, and hue adjustment.

Source: PhotoScout