QI’m disappointed with my black-and-white photos. What are the crucial areas to get right? Chloe Hindle
AI’m a great believer that you have to think in black and white to get good monochrome images. It’s not enough to just shoot as you always do, with no thought about how the scene will finally appear.
More than anything, you have to think about contrast. The way light and shade play off each other is vital in an image stripped of its colour. The real beauty of black and white is how places that really wouldn’t work in colour can become rich pickings for working in monochrome. Here’s a little thing I like to do if I am running a black-and-white workshop, and it’s something you can do on your own too. Go to the dirtiest, ugliest or least obviously photogenic place near you – like a heavily industrial area or perhaps a part of your nearest town that gets rather neglected and is run down. Walk around this area, but instead of looking at it as a whole, try to identify places where there are strong shapes created by light and shade. When you have, start experimenting with composition to try to make the most interesting shots you can, knowing that you will convert them all to monochrome.
I’m always amazed how at first people can’t see any images, but half an hour later after a bit of encouragement, they are 100% engaged in it and I have to drag them away.