Rooted in Black & White Film
Aug 14, 2023
The Powerful and Useful Force of Black & White Photography
Early on I was a devotee of black & white photography. I would photograph, process, and print all my own images. I loved the practice.
Once digital entered the marketplace, my expansion into color was inevitable.
As I trace back my early days in photography, I am reminded of how much I learned training my eye by using black & white film. It helped ground the basic elements of photography into my brain. More so, it gave me an edge. Black and white said it all. No frills. It was real. It set a mood that color couldn't do for me. There was a unique aura to black and white images. For me, it casts a spell.
I invite you to read a few tips I learned along my photographic way.
Perhaps these will aid you in producing some compelling images in black & white.
- As you follow the light, look closely for details in the shadows. Unique shapes? Maybe touches of light patterns.
- Seek textures in the vista in front of you - move in closer to notice the bark of a tree, a pebbled walkway perhaps.
- Find patterns. Black and white film can emphasize unique patterns - look for multiple of threes – such as three bikes in a row? shapely potted plants all the same size leading up a stairway…
- Compose with the Rule of Thirds in mind - be off-centered with your image - photograph your main subject in the right or left of your frame; Move in or move back. You might be surprised how unique your composition becomes.
- Shapes abound. Perhaps it’s a curve of a sidewalk; unique structures of buildings. Follow the lines.
- Move mindfully as you photograph. Open your heart and eyes. Take your time. Witness the shifting light. Notice a distinctive mood as the it begins to fade and even soften.
Black & white can create a very alluring invitation to the viewer.
I challenge you to photograph in black & white in the coming weeks. Pick a different element every day to photograph – be it shapes, textures, patterns and lines. Focus in and watch how mindfully your heart guides your eye into some outstanding photographs.