When and How to Shoot Black and White Photographs

Perhaps no post-processing choice more fundamentally alters the perception of a photo than converting it to black and white. When should you actually shoot in black and white, however? This excellent video discusses the how and why of black and white photography to help you expand both your creative techniques and palette. 

Coming to you from Matt Irwin Photography, this awesome video discusses black and white photography, namely when to shoot it and how to edit for a compelling final image. I think Irwin makes an interesting point and about black and white being a "purer" form of photography in some sense. After all, at its core, photography is about recording a scene and its light in an interesting way, and reducing it down simply to the light itself can be a powerful way to convey whatever message you want to. One of the best bits of advice I ever heard was to "shoot in color to convey information and black and white to convey emotion." No doubt, there are certainly exceptions on both sides of that rule, but it is a helpful starting point when you are trying to decide what to do with a photo. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Irwin. 

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2 Comments

Charles Eklund's picture

I also like B & W. About a quarter of my images end up B & W. I use ON1 for my conversions.

Lens UpThere's picture

I started using a NIR modified Canon 5D Mark II for B&W photography. I like that it captures a spectrum of light up to 1100nm or so. It makes for an interesting image - more interesting (to me) than converting RGB to BW. Especially the sky/clouds. Editing takes some practice.