Ready to grab the cam­era and go shoot some black & white? Here’s a se­lec­tion of sub­ject ideas to get you started...

Digital Photo (UK) - - MONO SPECIAL -

One of the many fantastic things about mono­chrome is that its trans­for­ma­tive power is near-univer­sal, in that it im­proves shots in ev­ery genre and cre­ates a greater au­then­tic­ity to im­ages. With the dis­trac­tion of colour gone, it’s eas­ier for the viewer to ‘read’ your im­age and dis­cover sub­tle nar­ra­tives so your im­age can take on a greater mean­ing and cre­ate a deeper emo­tional im­pact.

1 Street scenes and re­portage shots are ex­cel­lent sub­jects for the mono treat­ment as they take on a time­less feel, and any emo­tion or nar­ra­tive can be more eas­ily read with­out colour com­pet­ing for the viewer’s at­ten­tion. Shots like these also have a more artis­tic feel when con­verted to mono, as the process trans­forms the ba­nal into the bril­liant and ev­ery­day oc­cur­rences take on po­etic nar­ra­tive.

2 Por­traits can be­come gut-punch­ingly pow­er­ful when colour is re­moved, as the emo­tion of the shot rushes to the sur­face, cre­at­ing an in­stant con­nec­tion with the viewer. Mono can also cre­ate more flat­ter­ing pic­tures too, as any blem­ishes or red marks on the skin are less no­tice­able.

3 Land­scapes ben­e­fit from the black & white treat­ment as the con­trast can be given a ma­jor boost, which is a great fix for flat and life­less light. Stormy brood­ing skies also look fab­u­lous in mono as the cloud tex­ture be­comes much more ap­par­ent. Shoot­ing scen­ics with a Neu­tral Den­sity fil­ter, es­pe­cially a su­per-strong 10-stop­per, makes for par­tic­u­larly strong mono im­ages as any mo­tion is ar­tis­ti­cally blurred.

4 Close-up and still life im­ages work su­perbly in black & white, too, as the tex­ture and shape of sub­jects can be seen a lot clearer with­out colour, al­low­ing the eye to fo­cus more on out­lines and the com­po­si­tion of the im­age.

5 Ar­chi­tec­tural shots usu­ally look way bet­ter when dis­played in mono, as build­ings are all about shape, line and tex­ture, and this can be seen much more clearly with­out the in­ter­fer­ence of colour.

‘State­ment’ im­ages like these also take on a more graph­i­cal, or fine art, ap­pear­ance when viewed in black & white, adding an ex­tra di­men­sion to the im­age.

Mono lends it­self well to street photography.

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