Black and white digital photography can create breathtaking photos with a classical or romantic feel to them. Some photographers shoot in black and white only, while others use it to add a certain mystery or flair to their photos. Others still may use it as a technique to overcome lighting obstacles. Regardless of the reason, achieving the most stunning black and white photographs take a little skill when taking the photo as well as expertise in editing your results afterward.
Using Your Colour or Black and White Settings
Some cameras may have colour settings only, in which case all black and white effects must be added by converting to grayscale afterward with your photo editing software. If a black and white setting is available, you can decide between shooting in black and white to begin with and editing your colour shots later.
Shooting everything in colour can give you more to work with in the editing process and may give you higher quality black and white photos in the end. Using the black and white setting can take a lot of extra work out of the editing process but some visual effects may be lost. By experimenting with both you can decide which results you prefer.
Training Your Eyes
In order to get the most stunning black and white prints you’ll need to train your eyes to see in terms of lighting, highlights and shadows. Especially if you’ll be taking your photos in colour and editing later, it’s important to be able to visualize what a scene will look like when it’s converted to black and white. The more practice you get with this the easier it will be to do without thinking, but start off by just trying to pay attention to where certain lights fall and where the shadows are being created.
Detail or luster can sometimes be lost when converting to black and white so play with your settings as much as possible and compare your end result to the predicted outcome you were hoping for. Taking notes on which settings worked best for specific scenarios can help to give you a better understanding of why some techniques may have worked in certain cases when they failed in others. Like most aspects of digital photography, the best way to advance your skills is to just keep shooting everything you can and get as much practice as possible.