How To Create Better Black & White Photos

Here are a few hints and tips that'll help you create better black & white images.

| General Photography

Even though this subject has been debated lots, black and white art photography is still something that reveals the utmost fundamental aspects of a scene and thus, it's still worth talking about.

To capture a really great black and white photo, you don't need loads of fancy equipment. In fact, you can use smartphones to create pretty good black and white images nowadays. However, one thing you do need is a good grasp of photographic compositional principles so to help you out, here are a few tips from Photo Gifts UK that will help your monochrome photography journey a success.  


How To Create Better Black & White Photos : Bridge

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Contrast Is Important 

Shoot scenes with predominant contrast as photos with pronounced contrast will have more visual impact than scenes with low contrast. Keep in mind, though, that you can overdo it so balance is important. Also, pay attention to contouring, shapes and shadows as the more prominent they are, the better the photo will be. 


Check The Light 

Natural light tends to be the easiest form of light to work with and a good amount of sunlight will enhance the contrast in your images. Although, you don't want to overexpose the shot as this will just spoil it. 


How To Create Better Black & White Photos : Tree

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Look At Your Photo Collection

You don't always have to shoot new black and white images as you can convert full-colour images you've already captured to monochrome. If you have an image you don't think works well in colour, try converting it to black and white as a monochrome filter may work wonders on it. Landscapes, for example, will tend to always work well in black and white.


How To Create Better Black & White Photos : Car

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Use A Polarising Filter 

To darken skies and add more definition to clouds, try fitting a polarising filter to the front of your lens. This will make anything that's white in your shot 'pop' even more as the contrast between them is greater. Moody and prominent skies always look great in monochrome, even more so if the clouds are particularly peculiar.


How To Create Better Black & White Photos : Sky

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HDR Can Be Your Friend

Try having a play around with High Dynamic Range (HDR) to enhance the best of the dark and light areas of your photo. Do be careful, though as over cooking the effect can ruin your photos. 


How To Create Better Black & White Photos : HDR

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Long Exposures Can Be Awesome 

A monochromatic approach further adds to the otherworldly nature of slow shutter creations. Capturing your long exposures in the field and then converting them to black & white once home is best but you can simulate long exposures in Photoshop, too. 


How To Create Better Black & White Photos : Landscape

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Create Silhouettes 

Use silhouettes to further add a sense of narrative to your shots. Besides people, you can use interesting and distinctive objects that have prominent outlines. Trees and buildings work well but stay away from less obvious / recognisable shapes. 


How To Create Better Black & White Photos : Silhouette

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Geometric Patterns Are A Winner

If you spot an interesting pattern, grab your camera and capture it as these can really work well in black and white. This could be a set of identical windows on a side of a skyscraper or an iron staircase with interesting, repetitive spindles. Cut the composition at an interesting angle and you could also include a crisp clean sky in the background to emphasise the patterns in the composition. 


How To Create Better Black & White Photos : Wall

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Train your eye so to spot interesting compositions and patterns in architecture as black and white photography can really emphasise the beauty of a particular shape / object. Old plaster, the bark of a tree, ragged bricks… all of these are great subjects for black and white photography, even when nothing else is in the frame. You could even create a series of different black and white textures which are useful for post production work as well as standalone images in their own right. 

How To Create Better Black & White Photos : Wall

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Use Negative Space

Make the most of the dark areas or the so-called negative space, in a shot. Negative space can make your pictures more "artsy" and leave the photo somewhat open to the viewer’s interpretation. The use of negative space will also focus the spectator's attention on the focal point of your photo.


How To Create Better Black & White Photos : Portrait

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About Author: Gvido Grube 

Gvido writes interesting and educational blog pieces for, a website where you can transform your images into wall art or a series of canvas prints with ease. So, if black and white photographs are really great, head over to and transform your photos into high-quality art prints and canvases. You should also take a look at if you want to turn your work of art into a photo themed product. 

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