Some photographers say that it is time to stop shooting in black and white. Most of them claim that we view the world in colour and shooting in black and white was something only done in the past because of the limitations back then and it is time to move on. Well, those photographers could not be more wrong as there are a number of reasons why it is vital to shooting in this mode from time to time.
We are going to mention those reasons as well as how black and white photography can help nurture your eye.
Helps Emphasize Emotion
Looking into an individual’s face and into their eyes, without colour distraction tends to give a stronger emotional connection to the subject. It is not always the case, but if you are like me, you will feel more connected to an individual in a black and white photo compared to a coloured one. With the elimination of colour, it is only about the connection with the subject.
You Will Perceive Light Differently
What you lose by the inability to capture golden hour light is regained by focusing more on the quantity, quality as well as the direction of the light around you. Learning how to play with various elements of light in this manner is an excellent skill that parlays into the shooting. Light and dark, as well as the interplay between these two contrasting elements, can be more interesting to focus on compared to colour shooting. Also, light and the relationship with the subject, and other complementary elements become the focus instead of colour elements in the photo.
One of the primary reasons people shoot in black and white in this day and age is because it lends a timeless quality to the photos. That’s because people think of black and white as a form of a throwback to the history of photography. Of course, it was a time when black and white photography was more prevalent than its colour counterpart, but this is still a reason to shoot in this mode. Another appealing thing about black and white is that it gives a mystery for the era the picture could have been from, particularly if it has muted the colourful environment.
Colour Does not Distract
Colour temperature variance in ambient sources of light, clothing, colourful background distractions all stop being an issue. Of course, most photographers still focus on the backgrounds, but with black and white photography, they will care more about the relationship between the subject and background instead of the distracting colours. Black and white give you the chance to think about several key photography elements such as composition, lighting, and elements that are in and out of the frame. When you are thinking about making colours pop or work together, you may not be able to pay too much attention to these elements.
Highlights Shape, Pattern and Form in the Picture
Professional photographers usually focus more on the frame elements, not only regarding their form and shape but ideally how they relate to one another. When you see connecting elements in the background and foreground, you feel as if there’s a world to explore. Again, colour would be out if the way here and black and white makes it easier to see these elements and experiment with them.
Amplifies How You Utilize Negative Space
Areas in the frame that have nothing in them are known as negative space, and they are easy to highlight and showcase when shooting in black and white. This goes back to reducing distractions by not shooting in colour. You often focus on the light and dark areas of the image, and their interrelationship. Playing around with negative space is ideally helpful in separating the subject properly from the background and lend extra depth to the photograph.
Highlights Skin Tones and Beauty
It does not matter what colour, race or background you are, this type of photography gives an excellent tonal range between the whitest whites and the deepest blacks. Colourful makeup isn’t distracting anymore, and pigments, distracting elements and discolouration of skin all become less obvious. It is not hard to understand why popular fashion photographers such as Peter Lindbergh have built their whole careers on shooting almost exclusively in black and white.