Get Better at Black and White Photography With These Quick Tips

If black and white photography has been on your mind, you may want to bring this handful of quick tips with you the next time you go out and shoot.

Black and white used to be the only way to go back in the old days of photography. Today, however, there’s more than one way to make sure your black and white photos are on point. With these quick tips from London-based photographer Jamie Windsor, you can at least have a head start on getting better at black and white photography, whatever the genre you want to take on.

Previously, Jamie gave us some fair warning about falling into the trap of the Dunning-Kruger Effect and how to avoid it. This time, we follow his take on how to get better black and white photos through the quick video tutorial below:

Here’s a rundown of Jamie’s tips from the video above:

  1. Plan to shoot black and white before you take the shot
  2. Look for the abstract
  3. Shoot in RAW or use color filters
  4. Use long exposures
  5. Dodge and Burn
  6. Understand how light is affected
  7. Use HDR
  8. Emphasize mood
  9. Subvert expectation (take black and white photos of things you would expect to be in color)

Anyone who has tried black and white photography enough times will understand that it’s not just capturing something without the colors, or taking away the colors in post. Jamie’s quick tips tell us why, and give us some ideas on how we can take better black and white photos. Some of the tips build on the importance of getting into a different mindset before diving into a world without the distractions of color. But, the majority of these suggestions leverage the visual qualities and parameters that black and white is known for; moody or dramatic imagery, focus on composition, and eye-catching textures and abstractions. The rest of the video tells us how to achieve this by understanding how light affects the shot, paying attention to details, and making use of the tools available to us (whether we shoot film or digital).

Check out Jamie Windsor’s website to see his work and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more of his insightful photography tips and tricks.