Compose Striking Black And White Photos

Digital technology makes is easier for photographers at all levels to create black & white images that make for stunning works of art, especially when printed onto high quality materials. At one time, colour photography wasn’t available to us, so the tone of black & white feels classic and romantic, but new techniques allow for a modern take. Success depends upon training the artist’s eye behind the camera, trial and error, and considering a few of these tips to capture your masterpiece.

Firstly, it’s necessary to find appropriate subject matter. Any image can have a digital filter slapped onto it. Pay attention to shapes, contrasts, textures, and patterns when framing an area or object(s) to focus on. We can’t truly visualize in black & white, so keeping these qualities in mind when scanning the environment or while imagining your desired subject or design is helpful. Successful images will often contain shades close to pure white and black because this presents a fuller range to work with later. These two extremes need not be dominating areas, either. They can be slight details in texture on cloth, ripples in water, or narrow slivers of shadow and light. Relying on expert photo printing services and selecting the right medium on which to print will further enhance your desired effect.    

Consider testing out a long exposure. This looks particularly striking when capturing moving objects like water or clouds. It will increase the contrast of highlights and shadows. The movement will create added texture and is opposed to the stillness of the rest of the scene. Use a tripod to keep the camera under control. If reflective surfaces are in your image, try a polarizer to minimize their distracting impact.


Different photographers recommend shooting in different modes. Your image often appears one way through your lens and another when viewing on your computer. Some say if you shoot in RAW the complete colour information remains in the file, so you’ll have more data to work with when converting to monochrome later. Plus, if the image doesn’t look as stellar in black & white as you imagined, it can still make an attractive colour shot instead. You can also utilize the monochrome mode as a preview to help you select good subject matter and composition. There’s no harm in shooting in multiple modes and choosing a preference later. Others are passionate about HDR and how it can intensify range and sharpen edges.

Finally, choosing the right medium to print onto is vital if you’re looking to present your work. Print Partner is a boutique fine art printing company using the latest archival printing techniques and equipment, with pieces handcrafted by artisans. We have a wide selection of materials to suit your image, including acrylic, canvas, framed under glass, and an abundance of photo papers. Our unique HD aluminum prints are durable and black & white photography looks particularly elegant on them. To learn about metal prints and your other options, check out the rest of out site and contact us to learn more any time.

Be sure to look at a wide range of black & white artwork online for inspiration. As with any style of photography, experimenting is important to develop your own style and preferences.