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Black And White Snow Shots

Black And White Snow Shots - Here are some top tips for taking black and white images of snow.

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General Photography

Sheep in snow, Langstrath
Image © John Gravett of Lakeland Photographic Holidays

The black and white medium can add lots to a snowy image. A blue sky is often something that's associated with a great snow filled landscape but converting the image to black and white can add a level of simplicity to an image that can't be achieved in colour. 

Strong shapes - Keep your eye out for strong shapes in your images. Things like skeletal trees and lone rocks will stand out in stark contrast against the white snow when the image is converted to black and white. 

Backgrounds - Often misty backgrounds will help separate the background from the foreground of the image and create a sense of depth. Think about where you place the horizon, too - unless there are a lot of moody clouds in the sky, it can look pretty dull in black and white so it's best to lower your angle a little and capture more background interest. 

Textures  - Working with textures in your image can create interest, for example a rough stone wall will create a stark contrast with the smooth white sheet of the snow, especially when the image is converted to black and white and the dark shadows in the wall will be emphasised. Try and create foreground texture by including some pieces of grass, or even animal prints in the image.

Lead the eye  - Use something to lead the eye through the image. Cattle or sheep grazing on the snow can do this quite well, as can the lines of a valley, or stone walls and fences. Make sure to compose the image carefully as the snow can cause foreground interest to be lost, leading to a feeling of less depth in the image. 

Converting the image - Some Olympus cameras, such as the PEN and OM-D series feature art filters that can be applied to your images, including a black and white effect. Shooting in colour and then converting to black and white later will allow you more options when it comes to changing tones in your image. Make sure to look at the red, green and blue colour channels to see which one gives the best results. Often the red channel can really make the sky pop and give the picture real impact. 

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