At night, all cats are gray. This is an adage that would not necessarily make a pretty picture. And yet, a cliché in black and white is anything but dull and greyish.
A hint of contrast, well-chosen topics ... that's how a black and white photo will be successful.
1. Find the right topics
Black and white is often considered very chic in photos. Let's say it right now: not all subjects are destined to be treated without colors!
Some themes lend themselves better than others to this way of seeing the world:
- the textures stand out particularly well in black and white, be it the grooves of a wood or the wrinkles of a face
- geometric shapes, natural or not, are highlighted with this process;
- the strong contrasts between shadow and light are best exposed in black and white.
Let's dwell on this last point ...
2. Play on contrasts
What will allow a black and white photo to attract the eye, it will be the contrast between deep blacks and luminous whites. Do you remember cats walking outside once the sun is down? If one of them is white, or has white spots on the body, they will immediately be more visible.
And that's what you need to look for, even before taking the picture. A strong light will create shadows and bright areas, which will emerge even better once the photo shot.
Did you know ?
In a very strange way, the covered weather, which displeases the photographers often, is however favorable for the black and white.
The idea is always to seek the contrast and it will not be in bright colors, but in alternations between shadow and light.
3. Shoot RAW
Today, photography is also a question of technique, and no longer just a look. For black and white, know it, it is the RAW that is needed. Just because it's the type of file that will allow you the most manipulation afterwards.
Moreover, in order to better work this image in a suitable software, it is more than advisable to always take your photos in color (even opting for a preview in black and white).
If you still decide to use the monochrome mode of your camera, take a few adjustments beforehand:
- increase the contrast.
- play on the exposure corrector.
4. Correctly process your images
When you are going to take care of your digital files, on your computer, do not rush. The first mistake would be to go too fast, and to desaturate your color file. Your image would then be all gray, without contrast ... and without interest.
Instead, you will be interested in the layer mixer, playing on the red, yellow and blue color filters. You will have to manually modify the levels and the curves of the different zones and colors, which can take time, but guarantees you to obtain a result up to your expectations.
In Photoshop, you can use the Density tool to determine which areas to lighten or darken (the airbrush shape and less than 30% exposure will help you keep a natural look).
Succeed a black and white photo, it works both before and after the outbreak of your device. Systematically taking your photos in color will allow you to stay on this option if, in the end, the transition to black and white does not succeed to your images. Because no, all cats must not be gray!
To retouch your photographs, do not hesitate to call a professional photographer.