The Beauty of Black And White Photo Books (and how to create them)
There’s a certain prestige to photo books. Whilst some may be happy to simply take photographs and let them do the rounds on social media, a photo book is a way to immortalise your photography and keep the best of the bunch close to you.
They are also nostalgic, too. Gone are the days where cameras were dropped off at a store to be made into photographs. Nowadays, fewer people are sitting down with their children to flick through the family album but, instead, to scroll through a social media page. The romanticism has gone. But photo books bring it back.
This is why black and white photos could be a perfect idea for your next photo book. There is a certain romanticism about black and white photos too. They’re nostalgic, arty and they compliment that prestige which comes with the photo book.
But what are the other reasons black and white photography is a good theme for a photo book and how do you take good black and white photos?
B&W Is Emotional
There is a timelessness to black and white photos that make them quite emotional. Ask yourself why so many wedding photos of the bride and groom are filtered through black and white? Their timeless simplicity underlines the emotional sentiment of certain settings and moments, making them more special and elevating a timeless feel to the moment itself.
B&W Encourages Composition
If you’re an amateur photographer looking for solid photographs that can get a few likes and comments on Instagram, then black and white photography forces you to up your game. Black and white photography often forces you to focus on structure and composition, as colour cannot be utilised to provide a solid, interesting backbone.
B&W Leads To Experimentation
We’re not saying that coloured photographs can’t be experimented with, but black and white filters often lead to more experimentation. You cannot simply snap a black and white photo and hope it comes out alright. You need to play around with exposure, lighting, tools and filters. There’s a reason why movie directors still opt for the black and white colour pallet. It includes more of a challenge, and challenges always lead to stark and unique experimentation.
B&W Eliminates Colour
Well, duh. Of course black and white eliminates colour. But you might not understand what that can do for your photograph. When you eliminate colour, you are asking the viewer to focus on the other aspects of a photo. It allows you to see patterns and contrast which may otherwise have been missed.
But How Do You Take Good B&W Photographs?
Well, this is where things get a little tricky. But it is important to get right. When you come to create your black and white themed photo book, you don’t want to be rushing through your photographs and slapping a filter on them. That isn’t what this is about. You want to be able to create your photo book in 2 clicks, which means the photos should be perfect ahead of time. Not to mention an already great black and white photograph will have gained more likes and comments, which can go into your photo book too.
To give you an idea, here are a few examples of how to create stunning black and white photographs as and when you take them:
Gain Inspiration First
There are a number of Instagram influencers out there who play around with black and white photography, so make sure to look around and find some good inspiration. Research is always critical in photography. Find out how other people are doing things, then try to do it better!
Let The White Pop
Ordinarily, the flash is a bit of a taboo subject when it comes to photography. When it comes to black and white photography, however, a flash can let the white pop and create alternate shades of grey. This, in turn, allows for more contrast.
And Contrast Is Important
Why, we hear you ask? Well, contrast can provide a fresh and dynamic look to your photos, making them really stand out on the page and stir up some emotion. This is especially useful with urban photography, where contrast can highlight details and make each subject unique. There are a number of apps you can download to help you with this, all of which allow you to adjust settings to lower or heighten your preferred contrast.
Histogram Is Your Friend
Speaking of smart phone settings, histogram has long been a photographer's secret weapon. It allows you to measure the brightness of every aspect of the image, ensuring that your photograph has all the right shadows, undertones and detail that it needs to be great.
If you follow these rules of thumb then you are sure to make a black and white themed photo book which will stand out on the coffee table. In the future, you might even sit your child up on one knee and flick through it, stirring up the emotions and elevating the subject matter with every new page.