Black and white photography is the art of using different shades of gray, from white to dark, to create impressive images. Black and White Photography is an aesthetic way of stripping unneeded information and capturing and emphasizing specific elements without the distractions color creates. Even though most people treat it simply, professional B&W photography is way more than just slapping a “noir” filter on your colorful images.
Mastering B&W Photography is both an art and science of its own. Tonal Contrast, Lighting contrast, and appropriate expressions are some of the elements that are difficult to alter and fix after an image is taken. Richard Reinsdorf, who is one of the renowned photographers in New York and LA and has worked with many celebrities including Ariana Grande, Steve Aoki, Betty White, Gal Gadot, and many more mentions 6 things you should keep in mind while going for aesthetic B&W photography.
Look for images with High Contrast: Imagine a photo on a shady background like a dark hill against a clear sky. Such an object provides a strong contrast between light and darkness and the contrasts illuminate a beautiful black and white photograph.
Utilize Texture as another way to express contrast: The cramped bark of the tree offers the complexity of the texture and the visual patterns of shadow and light. Shades and highlights can be especially unique in black-and-white photography, so rough textures and square shapes with reflecting water or adjacent windows can create an appealing contrast.
Monitor Light sources in street photography: The key to street photography is to think about the various light sources – headlights, street lamps, neon signs, and, of course, the sun – that can thrive in your final image. Use this light source to capture a spectrum of different shades of gray.
Apply the Rule of Thirds: The third-party line creates a grid of three horizontal lines and three vertical lines that are visible to the search engine as the camera’s LCD screen. The points where the lines meet are points of interest, so place the object at one of the points outside the center of the left third or right third of the image.
Use Low ISO and Small Aperture: Black-and-white portrait photos must have sharp, consistent focus and minimal digital sound. A small aperture and low ISO will help achieve the goals. You may need to combine and match the settings with different lenses.
Examine your camera’s histograms: A histogram is a Graphical representation of the total value of the picture. The histogram of a well-composed photo shows that most pixels are by far the least black and least white in the photo. If there is often too much in your image, you will need to adjust the exposure to preserve the details of your last black and white image.
Keeping in mind the above tips will help you in capturing and composing shots that are more aesthetic and depth in them. But as Richard Reinsdorf mentions that even with the best tips and best camera to become professional, you need to give in hours, clicking and examining your photographs.