Why would anyone want to shoot photos in black and white?
That’s a question that I find myself asking and answering around other photographers and photography fans. Sure, we don’t see the world in black and white, we’re not cats. So WHY?
I like to ask: Why do people draw with pencils and pens when there are different color paints available? Some people in the world love monotone clothing. Some people love wearing different bright colors. It’s simply about creative choice.
Black and white photography was somewhat a limitation for the time before the 1930s. Photographers before then simply didn’t have any choice.
It’s not always about technical reasons.
Sometimes, I find color to be somewhat distracting in a photograph. There are times when color works (a field of flowers), and times when it doesn’t (a boxing match). If I was taking a pic of a boxer, I would want to see the veins, muscles, lines; shooting in color would take away most of that. Sometimes, you want to draw attention to the subject of your photo more than the scene.
Black and white photography forces you to view the world differently
When you’re scrolling down Instagram and looking at different pics, chances are, you’ll pause to look at something when it stands out. Something that’s different from the rest.
When you see a photo that’s in black and white, you’re forced to view the details. You’re forced to notice the subject in your scene.
Here are some reasons why I love shooting in black and white:
- Color can be distracting
- Subjects stand out better in the scene
- You don’t have to worry about the time of day when you’re shooting in black and white (ie: Golden Hour)
- Better contrast
- The photos automatically look “classic”
- Subjects look more flattering in black and white