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The Beauty and Simplicity of Black & White Photography

The Beauty and Simplicity of Black & White Photography

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was look through photo albums. My dad usually took the pictures and my mom would put the pictures in the multiple albums. I was bored with my desk job at a non-profit and I needed something new to do, so I took a black and white film class and fell in love with it.

black and white portrait

I was excited about the class and a little terrified, too. I am a closet perfectionist and what I saw in my head did not always translate in my first pictures. I studied fine art and graphic design in college, and learning to see differently for photography was a challenge. I thought I was failing in photography until I learned to embrace the technical limitations of black and white photography. What you see with your eye is not always what you get when you develop your black and white photos.

Photography masters like Ansel AdamsSally Mann and Peter Lindbergh chose to shoot in black and white and their work is stunning.  

When I make a conscious decision to shoot an image knowing the end result will be black and white, I compose my picture differently. Colors no longer become a distraction. Instead, my focus is on the relationship of my subject to my background. Textures matter. The light matters. I get to choose what the viewer focuses on. 

Without the distraction of color, you can evoke emotion in your images. It's easier to see what someone is feeling by looking at their eyes. Connections matter more when color is absent from your images. You will pay attention to negative space and how you frame your image. Black and white photography allows you to be a storyteller and guide the viewer on the story you create with your picture. 

5 Tips to Take Your Photography To the Next Level

5 Tips to Take Your Photography To the Next Level