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A Guide to Black and White Photography in the Digital Age

Author: Michael Harley
by Michael Harley
Posted: Sep 20, 2020
black white

A number of students learning the art of photography with London photo studio hire services experiment with image editing software to publish their pictures in black and white modes.

There is something special about this version that excites everyone, even if they never experienced the original form of black and white photography.

The generation that is currently under 30 years of age is not quite acquainted with the photographic film that was a key element of photography for decades. And unless their grandparents or parents have preserved some vintage items in family homes, they have probably never touched the classic ‘box camera’.

On the other hand, many of us know that the origins of photography are traced back to an era when newspapers had monochrome pictures and feature films were also shot in black and white.

In the yesteryears, the black and white photographers used a special film, special chemicals and rinse-wash-dry cycle in two discrete phases: the process of developing pictures took hours or even a few days.

Today, when you book a photo studio for hire in London to take headshots, portraits and other pictures, you can still take a black and white photo and the primary advantage is the time saving.

It is much simpler to conduct a photo shoot with advanced digital cameras and equipment. You not only get the final product instantly but can also publish it and share it with the world through social media in seconds.

However, when you really want to give your B&W pictures a superior quality, a random click of the camera will not work. It is good to have some professional knowledge of the techniques. Attending a photography training or workshop will also be beneficial. Meanwhile, here are some tips you can choose:

Do not hurry: Consider the process and the medium deeply. The mindset for effective B&W photography has to be different from colour photography.

Keep that ISO setting low: Some photographers insist that digital noise brings a creative impact in B&W photography, similar to what ‘grain’ did in the film era. However, this is not really true.

This is because the grain structure of film was spread across the full range of final print. Noise can be fussy about where it wants to show up: and that is usually ‘only’ in the shadow end of the histogram scale. This randomness makes digital noise appear more like an error than an artistic impact of film grain.

Don’t burn out the highlights or block up the shadows: This can easily happen in the shooting phase and even during the processing stage.

To avoid burning out the lights and blocking shadows, always remember – if your eyes can watch it, how can you make it visible in your picture? Post–process accordingly.

Make the most of camera raw format: To understand the merits of raw format it is good to understand the peculiarities of dynamic range. The dynamic range of a camera is its ability to reproduce "a range of tone and brightness values from shadow to highlight".

Ever since the evolution of digital age the dynamic range of cameras has been less than that of B&W negative film. That is now gradually improving. Nevertheless, camera raw will provide you the widest range from your digital picture file. In that aspect, along with others, it is better than the.jpeg format.

Learn to work with tone: Turning colours into the right shades of grey is the prime art of black and white imaging. Earlier, film photographers had to progressively develop their skills on how a particular colour would turn into a shade of grey while taking the shot.

Today when you create pictures in colour, you may want to make it monochromatic only in the post-processing stage - give some thought on how the colours will convert to tone when the picture becomes black and white.

You can also achieve the right levels of tone by making proper use of light and brightness in your studio. Professionals offering London photo studio rental services can also guide you at the same.

Lastly, if you are trying to optimise your photography skills, stay away from black and white conversion presets and action sets. The best results in this form of photography come from your own imagination and a histogram.

Author Bio: Founded in 2006 by Photographer Francois Boutemy and Designer Chris Charalambous, Simulacra Studio has worked with a number of individual and high calibre business clients for more than a decade. It also coordinates workshops and artistic development courses to give budding photographers the best of growth opportunities in the industry. For more information on the studio and trainings imparted visit

About the Author

Michael harley is a writer at Search Engine.

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Author: Michael Harley

Michael Harley

Member since: Sep 26, 2018
Published articles: 98

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