5 tips for better black and white fashion photos
Although colour-film was first introduced by Kodak in the 1930s, there’s something unique about shooting in black and white that makes it a timeless medium, even today. Strip away the colour, and reveal something entirely different.
Somewhere over the rainbow, there is a beautiful world of black and white photography that can only be seen through the lens of a camera. If you want to learn how to take amazing black and white fashion photos, then come along with Ted’s Cameras as they teach us the top five black and white photography tips for beginners.
Removing colour from the equation allows you to play with composition in new ways. Search the frame for strong lines and striking angles to give your photos definition and drama. For great fashion photos, keep the composition simple but focus on highlighting shapes and patterns, and shoot at an angle for some exciting results.
All cameras operate by capturing light. So by that logic, it makes sense that you’d want to have the best lighting for black and white photography. Photographers will often avoid taking photos in the middle of the day due to the high-contrast lighting from the sun. For black and white images, however, this is precisely what you want. Shapes and shadows become more pronounced under this kind of lighting, giving you a dynamic environment to capture in. That being said, soft light is preferred for portraits and close-up macro photography.
To compensate for the lack of colour, contrast is everything in black and white photography. Contrast describes the difference between the darkest and lightest parts of your photo. Balancing contrast will improve your photos significantly by increasing shadows and the appearance of different shades of grey. These shades of grey, also known as tonal contrast, are what separates good from great black and white photography.
Beyond shapes, lines and shadows, there is texture. This is where your black and white fashion photography can truly shine! Little details in photos can add depth and character, making them far more compelling. Use old and rustic objects in your photoshoot, and add textiles and textures that make for great high definition black and white photography. If you have access to a close-up macro lens, even a person’s skin can make for a brilliant subject in black and white photos.
Before colour-film, black and white photographers would attach a red filter to their cameras to increase the contrast in their photos. Coloured filters are an easy way to add contrast and highlights to different parts of your photo, depending on which colour you use. Also available are other more advanced attachments like neutral density and polarising filters to remove reflections from surfaces and reduce the amount of light captured.
Ted’s B&W top tip: Use a tripod! While not every situation is appropriate, using a tripod reduces camera shake, giving you clear and crisp images. A tripod is a must, especially if you’re experimenting with long exposure black and white photography. Have a look at our guide on understanding long exposures if you want to know more.
Time to apply these tips and capture amazing black and white photos! If you’re on the hunt for a new camera, a film camera, or accessories to help you capture your best shots, head to your nearest Ted’s Cameras store to get help from their experts, or browse their website.