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Black and white photography pushes your skills.

Updated on December 14, 2016
Used a smart phone on this image
Used a smart phone on this image

The photo lab

I was not as much into photography as I am now days. I use to work at a Walmart photo lab and process film there. It amused me to see how people use to use the 24 exposure one time use cameras. This generation might not know about the one time use cameras. One time use cameras are cameras that we would buy that took pictures by film. Those cameras would only take 24 pictures if you were lucky. After we took all the pictues we would take the camera to a photolab to develop the film in about an hour. We had no do overs with those cameras. The shot taken was what you got. Each shot you took cost money and time just to get them processed. But now days our cell phones and digital cameras can take up to almost 1000 images depending on your storage size.

A lot of the time most people do not know how to compose an image or how to use the flash correctly. What inspired me was one customer who used the black and white one time use cameras. She composed the images perfectly. This inspired me to look at using what you have to make the best of it. This customer would make even some nice back drops with house hold items. It just goes to show its not the tools but the photographer. With seeing this it inspired me to do the same. But if you think about it your cell phone might take a better picture than that one time use black and white camera. Just being able to edit your photos now days gives a huge advantage in taking pictures. I wont be getting into editing your images in this article. I just want to keep as many distractions away for now and keep it simple.

Building image I took using a point and shoot digital camera.
Building image I took using a point and shoot digital camera.

What does this mean?

What I am getting at is you have all the tools you need already. With a little extra effort you can use the tools you have to get great images. Doesn't matter if your using a cell phone or a one time use camera. We don't always need to best equipment to achieve great photography. Keep in mind that as long as you have a basic understanding of composition you'll do just fine. Look at the rule of thirds to start out for getting a basic idea for composition.

Here is a wikipedia link for you to look over for the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds is only a guide line for you. Rules can be broken.

Nature in the city - I took this looking for things of nature in the City of Dallas.
Nature in the city - I took this looking for things of nature in the City of Dallas.

Why black and white images?

As an excersise I would like you to try and taking only black and white photos for a day. This kinda eliminates an extra factor for those of us struggling with photography. Your not as concerned with white balance or how vibrant an image is. And yes I know most phones give the editing filters to allow you to concert to black and white after you have taken the picture. Something about taking the shot when it is permanently set to black and white and there is no color information. Give it a shot and take as many pictures as you can with only black and white settings. Hopefully you take up to 100 pictures if you have the space available. And after that pick 3 favorite images you took.

"Eleminating the color factor we can focus on the composition."

Factors to think about when taking pictures.

One of the main factors you will probably have to worry about is just your exposure. And if you set your camera to auto it will be another factor taken out. The only post processing I like to do is just increase the contrast and levels. Sometimes adding a little detail enhancement to the image. For some reason black and white images work well with detail enhancement (also called sharpen). I encourage you to take a day and do only black and white photos. You will see by the end of the day your image gallery will have a different feel.

Took this picture with my smart phone.
Took this picture with my smart phone.

Don't feel discouraged

I know sometimes taking photos can also be frustrating at times. Do not give up because your not getting the results you want. Personally when I take photos I will take around 100 photos or more. Out of the 100 I usually only keep only 3. Thats right, only 3! And sometimes the number is lower than that. You also have to keep in mind to have fun with taking photos. It is a form of expression and at the same time it captures a moment in time. And unless we figure out time travel this is the only way we can freeze time. So pick up your camera or your cell phone. As long as it takes a picture you have all the tools you will need.


I hope you will take a day to try out doing only black and white photography. If need to go online and look at other peoples work of black and white photography. You might be inspired even more seeing how others used their camera. And allow yourself to have fun with it. I tried to keep away from getting too technical on the subject as far as settings go. I want you to not worry much about settings is why I say let go of the color for a day. In the end I feel that you will find this exercise very fun! In the end you should be left with a very nice photo gallery to hang on the wall in your home. I hope this helps you to be inspired! And to start taking more pictures!


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    • Edgemaster profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Dallas

      your welcome kalinin1158!

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana Adler 

      5 years ago from California

      Black and white photography is definitely more challenging than color, but so much more striking! Great tips, thanks.


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