Urban Speed Cycling

7 tips for street photography in black and white

Shoot black and white on purpose

Black and white requires a different way of looking at things than color. Black and white is much more about differences in light as with color and you have to get used to that. If you shoot once a week on purpose with black and white in mind you will see that the photos will improve by leaps and bounds.

Focus on what makes black and white interesting

Look for things like tonality, texture and light in black and white. Vary light if you can within the image.

Adapt to the situation of light

Be realistic about the lighting situation you have. Look for things you can shoot with a certain light situation you are in. The environment doesn’t adjust the way you want it to so you have to reverse this, you have to adjust. There is no such thing as bad light.

Make good use of the environment

Notice shapes, sizes, reflections, things like that that can make a photo interesting. Also put the surroundings in the picture, they can give an accent to a certain situation. Good subject, good light and good surroundings are the defining trio for your photo.

Photograph as wide a contrast range as possible

Use Ansel Adams’ zone system. He found in this system that if all the gray values were present that you usually had a good photo in terms of contrast and tonality.

Zone systeem
Zone systeem

Change of perspective

This applies to all types of photography, find an interesting angle to shoot from, this usually makes the photo more interesting. Give the viewer a chance to see the world differently, from a different angle.

Do the post-processing thoughtfully

Let the photo determine the post-processing. The method of post-processing is usually already in the photo and in the vision you have for the photo. The post-processing with the layer of varnish are the ones that finish the image.

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