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