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Use High Contrast for Black and White

By Chris Corradino on March 04, 2016


The New York Institute of Photography is the world’s largest online photography school, and because we are, we often publish fun and useful photography tips on our photography blog. Please enjoy!

Can you see the world in black and white? Look at the scene in front of you and try to imagine it without color. The potential for classic monochrome imagery is all around us. Of course, not every situation lends itself to this artistic style. There are however, certain characteristics one can look for to identify the best opportunities.

Use High Contrast for Black and White


A subject with dark shadows and bright highlights would not be ideal for a color photograph. Yet, for black and white photography, this type of high-contrast light can be extremely effective. The harsh mid-afternoon sun is no longer a detriment, but an enhancement. This is a major shift in the way one thinks about exposure. To help recognize these chances, look beyond what is immediately evident and pre-visualize the scene in grayscale. Over time, you’ll know what scenes will look best in black and white before you even press the shutter.

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