How to get started in Black and White Landscape Photography?

May 17  |  Worldwide

Black and White Photography Basics for Fine Art Prints

Yosemite in Winter

Black and white landscape photography can provide a unique perspective on the world around us. Without the distractions of color, the viewer is drawn to the shapes, textures, and contrasts within the frame. Here are some steps to get started:

Understand the Basics of Photography: To produce effective black and white images, you first need to understand the basics of photography, such as exposure, composition, and focusing. This includes understanding the exposure triangle (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO), which controls the light that enters your camera and impacts your images' look and feel.


Invest in a Good Camera and Lens: While you can start with any camera, even a smartphone, investing in a good DSLR or mirrorless camera would be beneficial in the long run. A camera with manual settings gives you more control over your images. For landscape photography, a wide-angle lens can be particularly useful.

Learn About Black and White Photography: Black and white photography is not just about removing color. It's about understanding how colors convert to different shades of grey and using that to create compelling images. You need to learn to see in grayscale, and understand how light and shadows play a bigger role in black and white photography.

Sand so soft

Sand so Soft, a Fine Art Limited Edition Photo Print from Death Valley National Park.

Picture of Death Valley Desert with full moon

Under the Moon,

Practice Seeing in Black and White: Practice looking at your surroundings and imagining how they would look in black and white. Remember, not all scenes will work well in black and white. Look for scenes with high contrast, interesting textures, patterns, and shapes. By the same measure, not all photographs look best in color.

Winter stranger
A strange lone horse approaching the barn and another horse in the winter morning fog.

Use Filters: If you're shooting in black and white, filters can be very helpful. A red filter, for example, can darken the sky and make clouds pop. A polarizing filter can increase the contrast between the sky and the clouds.

Shoot in RAW: Always shoot in RAW format if your camera supports it. RAW files contain more information than JPEGs, which allows for more flexibility during post-processing.

Master Post-Processing: Post-processing is a crucial part of black and white photography. Use software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to adjust the contrast, highlights, shadows, and details in your images. There's a dedicated black & white mix panel in Lightroom that lets you adjust the tonal range of each color when converting to black and white.

Ridge Runners

Ridge Runners.

Study the Work of Others: Look at the work of renowned black and white photographers, such as Ansel Adams or Sebastião Salgado. Try to understand their use of light, composition, and subject matter.

Practice and Experiment: Finally, as with any form of art, practice is key. Keep shooting and experimenting. Try different compositions, lighting conditions, and post-processing techniques. The more you shoot, the better you will get at seeing the world in black and white.

It is ok to add images that have a little color to give a sense of stark contrast.

A little shelter

A Little Shelter

Remember, black and white photography can be challenging but also rewarding. It can help you see the world in a new light and create images with a timeless, classic feel.

El Capitan Butte
The three Soldiers Standing Guard.
Large format, quality, museum, fine art, print, jess lee, death valley, california, photographer, limited edition, high quality, high resolution, beautiful, art

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