Black and white photography.
We’ve all seen achromatic images and admired them a little in passing. Some people even exclusively shoot in black and white because of the dramatic and emotive feel this kind of photography brings.
Then there are those who take a picture of their lawn chair with their phone, slap a black and white filter on it and post it to Instagram with a myriad of hash tags to share their “art.”
Whatever kind of person you are, if you’ve tried black and white photography, you’ve done it for a number of reasons. You could have tried changing the photo to black and white because to you it represents a memory, or you changed it so it’s something different than the norm.
I don’t often shoot black and white photos, but moments present themselves where I think it’s appropriate.
After taking a photo, I transfer it to my computer and open it in Adobe Photoshop. From there I’ll convert it to black and white either using the Black and White adjustment layer or, like the images attached to this column, I’ll convert the image to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) and put all of the color into the black channel.
That sounds more complicated than it really is. Promise.
So what is the point of black and white photography? For me it creates a sense of drama color photos can’t always express.
As a photographer, when I began my journey of capturing images I used to take photos of everything — light bulbs, small objects at home, leaves on trees, etc — more often than not my black and white photography is taken with these kinds of subjects.
For instance, the photo at the top of the column is of my cat, Jett. He was laying on my lap on the couch at home and the light coming from the window created a lot of contrast on his face as he looked out.
I couldn’t resist taking a shot.
And while I enjoy the color version, I like the black and white version better.
Both photos in this column are not entirely black and white. You’ve noticed that Jett’s eye and the icicle are still in color.
I just couldn’t resist.
The completely black and white versions of these photos are great because there is a lot of contrast in them, but adding just a touch of color seemed appropriate.
I like to feel out my photography. If something feels right, I’ll just do it. This column is about black and white photography, but adding just a touch of color added a new element to the images.
Black and white photography isn’t for everyone, but it certainly has its place in the photographic world. Many people consider different colors to match emotion, for instance: Red often means angry.
Black and white photography takes color away from the subject and suddenly nothing but the light of the photo determines how the onlooker feels when seeing it.
Like I said, I don’t do it often, but black and white photography can be a lot of fun.