4 Tips to Great Black and White Photography

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Photography Tips, Studio Photography

male sitting on ground looking up against white backdrop

Photo Courtesy Rick Wenner

If you love to take black and white images, you know that there are certain tricks and tips that can help you enhance your photos into the best quality. Here are four suggestions that will help you decide if the scene you are contemplating using is a good fit for black and white.

1. Find Contrast for Your Photography

Make sure you have contrast for your black and white shots. One way you can create this is by using photography backgrounds. Try a seamless paper backdrop to enhance the contrast between the background and your subject.
female standing on white backdrop in sweater

Photo Courtesy Charles Lucima

2. Create the Right Light

Contrast and lighting are extremely important in black and white photography. In fact, the right lighting can create contrast for you. The interaction of lighting and shadows is emphasized in black and white. Side lighting will help you see texture in the subject, and a light that comes from just one direction is going to create a shadow. Don’t let light take away from your photo, so play with it and make sure you choose the correct method for what you want to accomplish.

model posing on grunge brick floor drop

Photo by Ryan Walsh

3. Use Shapes and Patterns

Black and white photography should incorporate shapes and patterns for the light to feed off of. Starting with a muslin photo backdrop that will help create a very clean look for you and use shapes and patterns to create that abstract quality that your viewers want to see.
female sitting against white backdrop

Photo Courtesy Jessica Wilson

4. Capture Texture

Side lighting will elongate the shadows of your subject, creating texture. Metal and wood materials offer good texture, or natural elements like lines, spirals and waves do as well. Anything old and weathered usually has a lot of texture. Sunrise and sunset are the best times of day for capturing texture, as they offer the best lighting.

Shooting black and white photography is challenging, but with the right setup, you will capture great images. Make sure that you are starting with good quality photo backgrounds and that you are setting up your lighting set properly. This will help you get the texture, shapes, patterns, and shoots that you are looking for to give your photos a timeless and powerful quality!

What techniques do you practice to enhance your black and white photography?

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in learning about using a white backdrop? Check out When to Use a Plain White Background!

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