4 Tips For Dramatic Black and White Photography

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

How would you click the drama in an image? How do you make your images look timeless?

How can you play more with light and shadow? Yes, the answer of all those questions could be Black and White Photography. In the age of color photos, BnW is still relevant and kicking. It can add a new direction to your creative journey.


But with BnW you need to be careful for the composition of the image as you’re playing more with tonal contrast. Here are few tips I think you can follow to see drama in your photos.


1. COMPOSITION

Composition is very important for dramatic BnW images. Even minimalist images can achieve great result than images with more subjects. In composition, making the subject attractive to the eye is very important and there shouldn’t be any distractions cause it’ll be surely poking in the eye. For minimalist photography, street photography, architectural photography or in fine art photography, while clicking in BnW, composition can be the key. So take lots of pictures and practice on composition.


2. TONAL CONTRAST

Black and White photography is simply what name suggests, as you’re working with only two color which determine light and shadow. If you’re proficient with histogram then you can follow the midtone and create miracle with the curve. And tonal contrast is simply the heart of BnW, where lighter tone is between the darker tones and the subject in the frame create tonal contrast with the background or vice versa, darker tone in between the lighter tones creating the same result. Thus, the subject is more prominent in the frame. Tonal contrast is great in minimalist photographs, also this is great In portraiture. Creating separate look against the background.


3. TEXTURE AND PATTERN

If you love to take architectures, then you already understand what I’m saying by pattern. In BnW, where pattern can be make dramatic too by clever use of contrast and shadow. Also when you’re playing with contrast slider, you’ll notice pattern in the image will be clarified. So the subject or the background will help the image pop

So repeated pattern like windows, bridge etc will make the composition more dramatic and interesting to look at. Also just like tonal contrast where light and shadow creates the separation, you can also use the textures for separation. Few objects have smooth surfaces while others have rough surfaces, thus creating the boundary. Like in long exposure images, water can be turn to smooth but the background or even a rock or tree can make this pop out of the image creating the dramatic effect.


4. DAYLIGHT AND PINCH OF SCORCHING SUN

If you’re taking colour images then golden hour is the best time for clicking images but in harsh daylight when the sun is in the top of head, it can be great for taking BnW images. Sun in broad daylight creates harsher shadows so it reflect in the image creating more dynamic photos. Also by taking under exposed photos as the environment is too bright, it can add some drama to the photo.

Also if you’re taking photos in RAW format, then you won’t lose much information and in post processing, under exposed areas can be properly exposed as per needed in the image. So just play with your camera settings.


So my friends, having fun is very important. So have fun, click lots of images, share with everyone and if you think this tips has helped you, then share it with everyone. Peace.

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