5 reasons to shoot in Black & White

For many years, I wanted to join a Light & Shadows photography workshop with Timurtas Onan, a Turkish photographer I admire & this year, I finally did it!

I’m sooo happy I did as I think there a “before” & an “after” this worksop with this talented photographer & great instructor. Black & White has also a lot to do with it.

First of all, let me clarify the specificities of a photography workshop compared to a photo tour.
I already wrote about photo tours here, and I still like them very much. They are just not the same thing & allow you to achieve different goals.
- A photography workshop lasts a few days (daily or periodically), with shootings & review sessions.
- It can also have a special theme (here light & shadows), with new techniques to be learnt.
- It’s organized to be at the best place at the best moment for photography
- The instructor shares their shots on their camera's LCD monitors so others can see and learn
- It’s an educational experience to help you improve your craft.

=> Let’s say a photo tour focuses on the “tour” when the workshop focus on the “work”.

The 1st thing we did was to set up our camera into Black & White (surprise!). Still shooting in raw format, this has 2 consequences:
- We see in Black & white through the view finder & take the image in B&W.
- Our files being raw are in colors & it gives us all the possibilities to process them as we want in B&W.

Note: If you shoot in Jpg, you’ll only have the B&W version created by your camera & not much possibilities to change anything.

So here we go for the 5 reasons to shoot in Black & White:

  1. Getting out of your comfort zone. As we naturally see the world in colors, changing your camera settings to B&W will for sure kick you out of your comfort zone.
    Personally, I loved it. I truly think it can help improve our color photography too, as we begin to see things which seemed not so obvious before.

  2. Getting more creative. As said above, you’ll see differently. You’ll get more creative as patterns, lines, geometry, shapes, silhouettes, texture will all pop up! It will change your “eye” and you’ll need to focus in the composition more than ever. With practice, you’ll improve your photography in general as you’ll play with the light more easily.

  3. Simplicity. Sometimes, colors can be distracting & confusing. B&W is a good choice when the color in a photo serves only as a distraction from the message you want the image to convey. B&W will make is simple & stronger.
    B&W can also “save” some images, so confused by the colors.

  4. Creating stronger images. Without color, an image has fewer ways of differentiating the elements that make up its composition. Because what you’ll see will be more simple, you’ll work more on the composition, therefore get stronger images.
    B&W also strengthens your portraits, with emotions & mood enhanced, and the reading of the images will get easier.

  5. A rich processing. One might think that processing B&W images is easier / faster than for color images. It’s not & it requires a different kind of work & of course an understanding of what is a B&W image. The only requirement is to shoot in raw format: you will still have all the color data but have the advantage of seeing a black and white preview on the camera screen.
    Behind all the shades of grey are the original colors. You'll play with tones & hues & create your own B&W image.

    I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t hesitate to share it!

    I’m very happy to share the final selection of my work after the workshop with Timurtas Onan.
    I can’t thank him enough for all I learnt & understood during the shootings & the reviews!

Noemie DeveauxComment