The Simplicity of Black and White

Photography in black and white is nothing new, let’s be fair about that.  It’s been around longer than colour, and shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon.  It’s not something that’s suddenly become fashionable, it’s been a constant, well since forever.

Like many others, I love photography in black and white.  There’s something about it that strips back everything within the image allowing you to concentrate on the subject.  Maybe it’s because I’m colour blind and trying to process the multitude of different tones in a colour photograph is too much for me and my head.  A simple black and white image is just shades of grey, simple to compute and for me, in most cases, more striking.

Options for Black and White Photography

If you’re looking to convert images to black and white there’s plenty of options out there.  If you use photo management or processing software, such as Adobe’s Lightroom or Photoshop you can use presets to create a look you want.  

There’s some pretty big organisations involved in preset production, including the likes of VSCO which base their presets on film emulations and even Google, who have a product called Nik Silver Efex, which can be used with LR, PS or as a stand alone system to name just two. 

These two offer almost every option you want for creating amazing black and white images.  You can take one or their preset options, and from there work with the settings to get the look you want, just so.  There's also a number of Photography experts who create and either give away or sell presets, which are often great value for money and are very much in tune with how an image should look along with the option of creating your own, which can give you that more customised style and feel if you’re looking to position yourself with a certain consistent look to all your images.

In Camera Black & White Shooting

Some camera manufacturers have started to provide the option of shooting in film simulation modes.  Fuji, for instance offer the option for shooting jpg’s in black and white which can be tweaked for sharpness, shadows and highlights amongst other areas, meaning the finished jpg coming straight out of the camera often requires little in the way of processing.  This is proving to be a very popular option for street photography where speed and minimum fuss is key.

However you create your black and white images, it’s great to see.  Whether they are hard contrast with heavy blacks or featuring plenty of fade and that washed out vintage look, black and white continues to be as popular as it ever has been, and for me a joy to look at.

I've included a selection of black and white images I've processed using a variety of presets over time, but if you use a favoured preset or have your own ‘roll your own’ favourite black and white settings for processing you love to use for creating your black and white images why not share them in the comments section below.

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