Black and White photos are very mature ones. They can connect with the viewer in a very profound way. They can convey emotions better than coloured ones. The reason is that colourful photos can be very distracting. Once the BG gets a better brightness or saturation than the subject, the whole purpose of the photo is lost. B&W photos are timeless too. That is when you take a print of a very colourful photo and hang it in your room, it’ll start to fade from the very first day. After a year, it’ll be a different photo. But, B&W remains the same all the time. Not only in this physical fact but the B&W photos will give a good nostalgic feel to the picture. They can be used for family portraits. When I say B&W, I include the sepia toned photos too. They are monotone images which serve the same purpose. They give a good antique feel to the photo. So, how to fully understand about these monotone pictures ? In order to do that, we need to, first, know about the different B&W effects and the feel they give to monotone photos.
NEO BLACK & WHITE:
This Neo type photos, as the name suggests, are very modern ones. They don’t come anywhere near sepia or magenta tone. They are fresh B&W photos. When I say fresh, it means that the black should be pure black [close to 0] and white should be pure white [close to 255]. They can be used for contemporary themes. They will do good with street photography, photo journalism to show the present day problems or happenings etc. These photos show “presentness”, more like a live coverage of a focussed idea. Even a mild sepia tone can make them look like a different photo.
SEPIA-TONED BLACK & WHITE :
So, what’s all the fuss about this sepia, anyway ? Does this really create that big a change to the mood of the photo ? YES, IT DOES BIG-TIME ! Jus a lil bit of sepia toning can make your photo look like an old, nostalgic photo. The reason is that, film camera where using sepia in the place of black and white. When you see an old B&W photo, you’ll find this. The black will have a shade of sepia on to it and the white too ‘ll have the same on it. So, when you give a sepia tone to any photo, B&W or coloured, It will give an old feel to the photo. Whenever you want to showcase an old theme or old monument, sepia comes in handy. They are powerful colour-tools. They are very easy to use too. A simple sepia photo filter can make the difference.
GRAINY BLACK & WHITE :
They are very useful when it comes to a nostalgic theme. They jus bring back those old memories in a very strong way. They are again the attributes of old-film photos. The primitive films produced lots of noise. They had chromatic aberrations to the max. The had edge distortions, lens distortions and almost all the problems you can think about in photography. So, we are trying to digitally bring the same effect to photos. But to master this skill, you need to learn masking first. They are very helpful to add grains to photos in a natural way. Because if you jus add grains like filters to the photos, they will add in a uniform way. This won’t look very convincing. However, once you learn masking, you can ace grainy B&W editing.
The types of B&W photos are almost infinite. I have jus took the very basic criteria like time-line and mood to classify them into 3 types. But, in each of these 3 types, you have lots of sub-types. This post is jus to give a basic idea about Black & White photos. To make it simpler, jus remember this :
* Contemporary themes – Neo
* A lil old or a lil bit Nostalgic themes – Sepia tone
* Too old, Nostalgic or Antique themes – Grainy