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Texture in Black and White Photography

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Texture in Black and White Photography

Black and white photography can be all about texture. Color is no longer a crutch or handicap that keeps you from noticing other aspects of your pictures.

When you are out photographing and know you are planning on converting them to black and white, you should alter your mode of thinking slightly so you are taking in different nuances than those that you would be seeing when shooting color pictures.

When thinking in black and white, different things draw your attention. It’s no longer the vivacious colors of the flowers, but instead, it may be the texture of the rose petals with dew on them.

Shapes, contrasts, textures, layers, depth, and the light become more prevalent factors in how you guide the viewer’s eye through your pictures.

To help you begin to think in black and white, you can either go for a walk at night or even dusk when the darkness muffles the colors, and you can actively look for textures, or you can do the following exercise.

Black and White Texture

Close your eyes and imagine you are looking out your window (or keep your eyes open and look out your window), and as you are watching, all the color drains away until all that’s left are the blacks, grays, and whites of the world in the place of color.

What do you notice first? The newly fallen leaves against the freshly cut grass? The paint that has started peeling off your patio? The bright reflection of the sun off the water of your child’s kiddie pool? The jumble of tumbleweeds in the corner of your yard?

Now replace your window with your camera lens. Pull the color out of your consideration and take in the world on a different scale. Then start snapping away at the textures that call to you and your camera.


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