7 Simple Black and White Photography Tips

Simple is better:

1. Shadow


When shooting monochrome, make photos with a ‘cherry on top’ (a small, subtle, yet beautiful detail).

For example in the above photo, you see the ‘pinnochio nose’ shadow. What is the symbolism of this shadow?

2. Put your hand in the photo


Put your hand in the foreground of your photo, to add more personal-ness to the photo, and another interesting detail.

3. Presets

eric kim black and white street photography montreal - monochrome - lumix g9-26

Shoot in RAW, use a high-contrast black and white preview on your LCD screen, and use FREE ERIC KIM MONOCHROME presets (see all presets here).

I think post-processing your photos into monochrome is essential. Play around with the ‘blacks slider’ (I prefer the ‘crush the blacks‘ aesthetic).

There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ aesthetic in black and white. Just post-process your photos until the photos look beautiful to you.

4. Use a flash


Flash will add more contrast and help your subjects ‘pop out’ from the background. Experiment with a flash in your monochrome photos.

5. Simplify

Cindy moving staircase high angle

Seek to simplify your photos. Simple tip:

Shoot from a very high angle, and point your camera downwards.

I recommend using a camera with an LCD screen to do this.

6. Separate your subject from the background

Cindy project

It is good to photograph your subject, especially when they are wearing a white outfit, to separate then from the background (figure to ground)

7. Obscure is good

Cindy walking

Obscure your subject, by photographing them through obscure backgrounds — such as a semi-transparent background, like glass walls, or windows. This is an example of a Chiaroscuro composition — which means “clear + obscure”.

Make sure your subject is clear (white space around them), but also obscure them. This is also when shooting blur is good.

More Monochrome

eric kim black and white street photography montreal - monochrome - lumix g9-28

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