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Seeing things in black and white (black & white photography)

During a recent conversation with a friend who is into landscape photography the topic of black and white photography was brought up. It was more pointed towards portrait than landscape photography and how it give more emotion. Though in my opinion there are times when a landscape photograph is better in black and white.

For street

To each his own

To each his own

Black and white photographs are usually the format that street photographers deliver their output. Having noise or grain on the photos adds more character to the shot. This can be done in camera or during post process that is if it was shots with a digital camera. I had not shot anything on film but I think grain is almost always present on photos shot with film. One more thing I noticed with street photography is the amount of contrast present on the photos.

I rarely do street photography as there are factors one have to consider before doing it. First and foremost for me is security. Even though there is somewhat an improvement in terms of safety, it is still not enough to go out and shoot. When I do, I use my Canon EOS M10 with the attached kit lens that came with it. I prefer using it because it is less conspicuous than a DSLR camera. It also have being an APS-C camera, it has a crop sensor so my shots would have more noise compared to using my full-frame camera.


For Interior

Sitting at the bar of "The Brewery at the Palace"

Sitting at the bar of “The Brewery at the Palace”

Yes I know that for interior photography bold colors are what sells the photo. Though sometimes a black and white photo is better when shooting an interior with few and even dull colors present. Just like in street photography doing it in black and white adds more character to the shot. You can increase the saturation in post-process to lessen the dullness of the colors but if only a few colors are there, it would be better to have it in black and white.

Here is a shot I took while sitting at the bar of The Brewery at the Palace. Most of the items are made of stainless steel and others chrome-plated. The only other colors if I remember it correctly are black, yellow (lights), brown. So I was thinking even if I increase the saturation during post, it would still be better if I do it in black and white.

For Glamour

Anonymity is achieved using silhouettes

This is what my friend was pointing out during our conversation. He says he like it better when my glamour photographs are in black and white rather than in color. During the past year and a half that I have been shooting glamour photography there were instances when a photo is better in black and white. Take for instance silhouttes, I am almost always going to have it in black and white.  Another one is when I shoot bodyscape or low-key body photography. Most of the time final output is better in black and white than in color. It is very similar to a doing a silhouette but with bodyscape you still can parts of the body and not just the outline.

In the end

In the end all I can say is that black and white photography does not appeal to everyone and it can’t be applied to all photographs. A tip to those who plan to shoot black and white: plan your photo session or your shot. Not all shots turns out great when converted to black and white. You can see more of my black and white shots here.