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Photography lesson: Tips for mastering black and white photography

Fat Mum Slim /

Brought to you by Olympus OM-D E-M10.


Hello you photo-taker!

Each month of this year I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for photography techniques. If you’re playing along with photo a day, you’ll notice that each month I’ll include a photography prompt. This prompt is included so it can help us stretch and grow and expand our photography skills. Perhaps you’re already the proud owner of a fine set of photography skills. No problem. Show them off! Inspire us.

If you’re not playing photo a day, no problemo. You might like to just learn a few photography tips anyway.

The tips below can be used for camera or for your phone. I’ve included both so you can adapt to whatever you use to take your photos.

The first lesson is on Black & White Photography. We’re starting simple and beautiful.

TIP 1. Black & White photography is super easy to achieve. You can shoot in colour and then change to black and white in post-production {using an App or photo-editing program}. If you’re using the OM-D E-M10 you can use the monotone picture more or the Grainy Film Art Filter to take a photo in black and white {such an easy way to shoot in black and white}. Also if you want to be really clever you can setup Art Filter bracketing on the E-M10 and the camera will apply your chosen colour modes to your photo automatically. Read this step-by-step guide to achieving it.

black and white{Taken with the OM-D E-M10, edited in photoshop using the Florabella Actions}

TIP 2. As far as Apps go {for iPhone}, I’m loving PicTapGo {cannot get enough of that App at the moment}, the Simple Black & White filter is beautiful, as is Salt and Pepper. I, of course, also love Little Moments App too {try the Ink filter}. If you don’t want to buy an App, just use the editing options within your camera and try the filters provided by Apple {Mono is my pick}.

Android users, please share what Apps you love in the comments below. Please.

TIP 3. When shooting, think in black and white. Say I’m taking photos at the beach, and normally {when thinking in colour} I’ve got the white of the sand, the blue of the sky and the blue of the water, and the pop of a bright umbrella. All of those things can make a great colour photo. BUT black and white the sky might blend into the sand and the water might be another shade of grey and the umbrella won’t be bright at all because it’s lost its colour when converted to black and white.

But try and simplify it a little bit, and really consider contrast when taking your photo. If I get closer to the umbrella and let that be the ‘dark’ in my photo, and let the sky be my ‘light’ it’s creating a more interesting black and white photo.

You can play around with exposure/brightness and contrast when editing your photo after you’ve taken it too and see what works best for your photo.

TIP 4. Explore. Find inspiration. Try and try again. With any new technique you try {or old technique} it’s always fun to find inspiration, and to practice. If you’re on Instagram, search the #BlackandWhiteChallenge hashtag and see what photos people have shared. Maybe you’ll find something to inspire you. You can find the below images on Pinterest, which are just a handful that I found inspiring.

bwI hope these 4 simple tips help you achieve some great black and white photos. If you’re a photo a day player, I can’t wait to see your pictures on Sunday.

If you own an OM-D E-M10, please pop over and join our Happy Snappers group. We’re sharing our photos, chatting photography and learning about the camera as well.

Happy photo-taking. x