The Power of Black & White Images…

Polly Blog

We love colour! Personally the punchier the colour, the better. Many of my images are full of rich greens, browns, blues, yellows, pinks.  When you photograph outdoors you are totally spoilt for choice with your colour palette – the richness of our landscapes and nature means colour in abundance! 

Whilst colour will always be dominant in my photographs, sometimes I’m drawn to just the opposite. I have a long-standing love affair with Black and White. If I could get away with it, I would produce more in this style – but I know it’s not for everyone and I would eventually miss the colour. If I produced everything in colour, I would long for more Black and White. So I try to do both and provide families with a good mix of both in their images.

As long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to strong monochrome images. When I was a teenager my walls had Black and White posters of the great movie legends; James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.  The fascination has been there for a while.

Not all images are destined for Black and White, many images were born to be in colour. From time to time you do come across photographs that are just meant to be monochrome.  Over time you train your eye to photograph not in colour but Black and White, this is much more effective. 

 

Images with contrast, different textures and tones, a good mix of light and shadow can look great in Black and White.

So what’s so powerful about no colour? Black and White can simplify but at the same time be very striking.  You don’t get distracted by the array of colours, therefore you focus more on the subject and the emotion in the image.  When you have a photograph of children and convert to Black & White, the image takes on a timeless quality, conjuring up feelings of nostalgia. It’s like a throwback to times we were growing up.

Capturing the emotion of a child in an image is key, but it’s not all science, more of an art.  If done well in Black and White, you can produce some classically beautiful photographs.

The trick to this style is balancing light and shadow effectively, and achieving a good contrast between white and black. Also look at bringing in textures, strong lines and shapes into your image.

Black and White imagery can create mood, intrigue and impact. Powerful.

Why not try some monochrome photographs yourself?  Grab your camera phone (most allow you to convert to Black and White) or a camera that allows you to photograph in monochrome.

Try capturing a photo of your children in the home when they are not looking, some candid shots of your kids playing.  An idea is to place them close to a window, where you get some natural light streaming through and shadows in the background.

Experiment with different angles. Convert to B&W and compare the difference between colour and monochrome. What do you prefer?

Polly xx

 

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