Black & White: Absence of Color Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

black and white

ˈˌblak ən ˈ(h)wīt/


Displaying only black and white tones; without color, as a picture or chart:

a black-and-white photograph.


Black and white photography is an essential and significant part of the entire story of photography. Some of the greatest photographers in history, such as Diane ArbusAnsel AdamsBernice Abbott, and Elliot Erwitt (among other greats!), chose black and white photography over color because of it’s timeless, fine-art appeal.

I personally love black and white photography because the absence of color allows you to connect with the true essence of the subject – whether the subject is a person, a building, or just nature. I’m connected with the essence, the patterns; the light and shadows that create the image.


Here are 5 Tips on How To Create Stunning Black and White Images:

Shoot in RAW –  Shooting RAW allows better control in post production. You will not only be producing a quality image ready for printing, but you will also have a better capacity to correct some mistakes you may have committed during your shoot.

Look for Contrast – Contrast gives a more dramatic nuance to your images, and will intensify their feel. Remember, the point of greatest contrast should be the subject of the shot. By doing so, and giving a bit of open space around your subject, it will direct the eye to your focal point, and add a certain balance to your images.

Right Light – Lighting in a black and white shot can be very important. Direct lighting will often add to contrast. Side lighting will reveal any texture that a subject might have (and in portraits will accentuate features), and light from any one direction will create shadows. Find the right light that will help enhance your image, and remember underexposure is your best friend.


Pay attention to lines, patterns, and shapes –  Try to visualize in black and white before you shoot. Then take a look at the patterns and shapes that you’re about to capture. Because color tends to draw attention, patterns or shapes can sometimes go unnoticed in color, but can definitely come alive in a black and white shot – and can often take on an abstract quality.

Shoot on gray days – Remember my Today’s Overcast; Nature’s Reflector blog? Well, it applies best on black and white photography. Overcast skies create a beautiful gray tone that will help balance your shot, and the soft light will give your subjects a smooth transition.

Absence of color is not for everyone when it comes to photography. I know a lot of photographers who choose color over black and white. But, for those who do enjoy creating black and white images, you’ll have a lot of fun shooting and with post production.

“To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul.” – Andri Cauldwell


As always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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