Black and White Photography by Wendy Kerr

If you have been snapping away with your camera or phone, you may be thinking, why on earth would you want to take a black and white photo?

Today’s cameras, either on your phone or a point and shoot can produce great colour shots.  But a photo taken with only two tones can have more impact. Many cameras have a setting to enable you to do this, called monochrome, or a means of conversion to black and white once you have taken it.

If not there are free downloads on the internet of photo editing software to convert a colour photo after taking it. Examples are are Pixlr, GIMP, Photopad.

Here are a few points to consider before you start.

Landscapes are a good choice for black and white photos, turning what might be uninteresting view into something dramatic. Look for interesting shapes, textures, leading lines (these are lines such a path, fence or road that go straight into the picture and make your eye follow it). Contrasting areas, such as clouds or shadows can add impact. If you can find a single object such as a tree, person, lamppost it will stand out and create a good focal point.

Portraits can also be very attractive in this medium, particularly if the existing light can illuminate a face. Ask the subject to look away from the camera and try and have a light source such as window casting light on their face. Maybe your cat likes sitting in the window!

Avoid too much detail in the picture as it may just disappear. Crowd scenes or moving objects are not always good subject matter. A street scene, however, can produce a powerful image.

You may find buildings with great architecture, shop doorways, street signs or traffic lights. They can all add up to a great black and white photo.