Take Great Black-and-White Photos
Going grayscale can transform the way you see the world.
Black-and-white is much more than a filter section of your favorite photo app. It can transform an ordinary color photo into an extraordinary one. Learning how to use the technique creatively is an art form all its own—but it’s not hard to learn. Here’s how to get started:
Come out of the shadows
A black-and-white photo is about more than just the subject; it’s also about what surrounds the subject. With black-and-white, shadows come to the fore in a way they don’t with color. Look at the shapes, lines, and angles around you.
Refine your portraits
Black-and-white lends a whole new light to portrait photography—literally. It declutters the scene, adds drama, and allows the subject to shine.
While part of this comes down to how you frame your shot, you can work some magic in post-edit as well. The Darkroom app offers high-quality black-and-white filters and lets you fine-tune an image by adjusting highlights (the lighter pixels), shadows (the darker ones), and midtones (the grays). Experiment with these controls to darken a background or foreground or call attention to certain details.
And if you’re shooting against a busy background or your subject is wearing intricately patterned clothing, see what a difference black-and-white can make.
Transform the ordinary
You know all those mediocre photos in our camera rolls? The black-and-white treatment can breathe new life into them.
In color, the stairs below might not be that interesting. But in black-and-white (and with a tight crop), the shot immediately draws your attention to the lines and intersections.
Get the right apps
VSCO and Darkroom are both great places to start growing your black-and-white filter collections. With tons of customizable presets to choose from, the only thing left to do is rediscover your camera roll.