black and white photography

Black and white street photography: some tips

As you can see if you visit my street photography project Faceless, I really enjoy taking black and white pictures. I love the feeling you can sense and the contrast you can show in your pictures. If you too like this photography genre and you think you can learn something from me (really? :)) I'd like to give you some tips to improve your skills.

Black and white pictures are based on contrast. You always need to find scenes where you can put your subject on a light background (if your subject is dark) or on a dark background (if your subject is light). This is the first rule you always have to keep in mind to take some nice street photography pictures. As you can see in the following photos I took, the subject is always dark on a white background. This combination gives you the better contrast you can achieve.

The corner - Dublin, Ireland - Black and white street photography

In love - Dublin, Ireland - Black and white street photography

The foggy bridge - Dublin, Ireland - Black and white street photography

It's very important to look always for the natural contrast. You can't fake it in Lightroom or Photoshop and if the picture has not contrast in the first place you can't do anything in post production to get a natural, good looking result.

Another important aspect in the process of creating the perfect black and white picture is the editing. It is true, you can't change a picture with no contrast but you can do something to improve it in the ones taken in the right conditions. Using the brush tool in Lightroom, for example, you can enhance whites and blacks to make your subject pop out and improve the final result. Always try to get the white parts of the image more white and the black parts more black. You can also change the "whites" and "blacks" sliders to give the picture more contrast.

Finally, don't be afraid to shoot at night. When the scene is dark you can find bright spots and play with lights to get good results.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you need more information and tips please leave a comment below.

You can also check my black and white street art for sale on FineArtAmerica.

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A photowalk in Dublin city center

On Saturday the 14th of February (yes, Valentine's day*) I was out an about in Dublin with the Irish street photography group to take some pictures of people in the city center.
* My wife wasn't very disappointed because she could have had some shopping around. I met her for lunch anyway so everybody was happy and we're still together :-).

The weather was perfect, the time, Midday, great and the sun was casting beautiful shadows all around. The streets were full of beautiful spots of light so I decided to set my aperture to f11, iso 200/400 and tried to keep an high shutter speed to underexpose my pictures and get nice contrasty images. The day went very well and I think I've got some nice shots ready to be processed in Lightroom.

One picture in particular really grabbed my attention. There was this girl walking and I was ready with my Sony A7 and the Sony FE 35mm to take a picture because I had spotted a very nice background. There was a big shadow on a building and the sun was shining in the street so I could get the light on a person passing by. And that was it. Here is the shot I took and processed in Lightroom 5 to add some more contrast, a bit of clarity and sharpness. Lately I like to set very deep blacks and whites to give my shots more contrast. You can click on the picture to see the exif data on Flickr.

Looking for someone...

I hope you enjoy the shot. If you have some comments please use the form below to let me know!
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Portfolio | The projects I've worked on

Blog | What I've to say

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