Travel Photography

Tips on how to Make the Most of Black and White Journey Pictures

You might ask “Why trouble with black and white journey pictures?”
Honest query.
Life can seem a lot extra colourful when travelling outdoors your own home nation. This can be as a result of some locations and individuals are a lot extra vivid than the place you reside. But, it might be as a result of once you journey you might be stepping outdoors your acquainted environment.
A lot might be so totally different and appear rather more attention-grabbing away from residence. This in itself is a most important motive many individuals have a tendency to make use of their cameras extra after they journey.
Nevertheless, it’s usually very straightforward to take images that lack attraction to anybody aside from ourselves once we’re on vacation. I need to share with you how one can keep away from this.
Eliminating colour out of your journey photos, or a minimum of a portion of them, can change this. Consider making a sequence of black and white journey pictures. This will open up a complete different dimension of visible story telling.


Seize Consideration

Individuals are typically used to seeing colour images. In our trendy web society we take and share billions of images each day. Creating and sharing monochrome images will assist seize the viewer’s consideration.

Black and white travel photography of Chiang Mai's Wat Chedi Luang at night.
Chiang Mai’s a lot photographed Wat Chedi Luang at evening in black and white.

Your images should compete nicely within the big crowd to be seen.
All of us love story. Essentially the most attention-grabbing tales, visible or in any other case, embrace loads of element. In addition they depart loads to the creativeness.
Black and white pictures eliminates sure element (the color). You need to use totally different pictures strategies to convey your journey expertise in monochrome. Doing this may add extra that means and extra intrigue to assist maintain your viewers (even when it is just your mum).

Inform Your Story Effectively

Black and white pictures might be a lot extra expressive. Considering in shades of gray will help you focus extra on capturing the temper and emotion of your journey tales.

Black and white travel photo of the U-Bein bridge in Myanmar, the bridge and a boat nicely reflected in the water
Even with out the color of the setting solar, the silhouette and reflections of the U-Bein bridge in Myanmar make a robust journey image.

Conveying your vacation expertise in photos is finest when the photographs are dynamic. You need greater than the same old images of landmarks, lunches and candid road portraits. You need participating images of the folks, tradition and the locations you go to.
Desaturating your images alone won’t obtain this. To create probably the most attention-grabbing black and white images you additionally must be fascinated about:

  • Gentle and tone
  • Form and kind
  • Texture
  • Connecting your viewers together with your expertise

Gentle and Tone in Black and White Pictures

Stripping away color leaves solely tone. We see color as a result of gentle waves differ in size. Eradicating the color leaves us a sequence of impartial tones, from black to white. That is also known as the greyscale.

Black and white travel photograph of the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand, the building reflected in the water below
The White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand.


How do you cease seeing the coloured gentle waves? Naturally we can’t, however we are able to set our cameras to indicate solely a monochrome picture on the monitor or within the viewfinder. Doing that is one of the best ways to show your self to start out seeing in black and white.
You will have to regulate your digicam’s colour mode setting. Completely different manufactures will name this setting by totally different names. A fast have a look at your digicam handbook or an web search of your digicam mannequin will present you the right way to make this alteration. Some cameras could have a number of black and white setting choices. You’ll must experiment to seek out those you want most for various conditions.
Cameras with digital viewfinders will present a monochrome picture within the eyepiece additionally. In case your digicam is a DSLR it has an optical viewfinder so you might be seeing by the lens. You will have to make use of dwell view and compose utilizing the digicam’s monitor to see the photographs in black and white.
Utilizing this method is an efficient device that can assist you get a really feel for black and white pictures. However don’t be lazy and rely solely in your digicam. Deal with it like coach wheels on a bicycle. Use the greyscale monitor view solely so long as you could.

Shades of Gray

Taking a look at a monochrome picture in your digicam monitor, you’ll discover how colors look in greyscale. Completely different colors with the identical shade worth will render totally different shades of gray. Completely different shades of the identical colour will render various shades of gray.

Black and white travel photo of a market in Istanbul, a young boys shouts towards the camera while adults look through fabrics
A younger hawker within the streets of Istanbul.

Utilizing your monitor set to monotone, take note of how colors seem in gray tones. Follow this and in time you’ll not want to regulate the color mode setting on you digicam. It is possible for you to to forged off your coach wheels.
There’s a far deeper science of how colors render in monochrome.

Variation in Tone

Variation in tone is without doubt one of the key parts in a black and white {photograph}. The texture of a photograph will differ relying on if there’s robust distinction or mild gradation of greys.
The deep shadows of the cruel mid day solar create a moody distinction in my photograph of the cow and pagodas.
Deep shadows create a moody contrast between a white cow and pagodas in the background,
The smooth gentle and tone vary within the picture of the Kayaw lady placing her hair up convey softness. The sensation these tones create resemble her expression and character.

portrait of a young Kayaw girl putting her hair up
Black and white journey pictures portrait of a younger Kayaw lady placing her hair up

Professional Tip

One in every of my favorite strategies for folks pictures is to make use of a darker background. The distinction within the gentle on the younger lady’s face and the sunshine on the background isolates her. She is the centre of consideration in my composition as a result of her face is lighter.
black and white travel portrait of a young girl with white flowers in her hair and traditional jewellery
You might assume that is solely potential the place the sunshine is robust and the distinction excessive, however this isn’t so. The sunshine on her face is smooth. She sits within the shade and light-weight is reflecting off the bottom in entrance of her. Behind her is the wall of her home which has much less gentle falling on it, so it seems considerably darker.

Look ahead to Distinction

The place there’s little or no distinction your composition could also be higher in color. The smooth yellows and greens on this photograph, together with the subtle gentle, produce a really flat black and white.
flat black and white photography close up of a cocktail drink
A close up of a green cocktail drink in colour
There are publish processing choices accessible to present us the flexibility to change tone values. We may tweak the tonal values within the black and white model of this photograph to make it extra attention-grabbing. On this article although I’m encouraging you to see what colors and tones will work finest in monochrome.
Follow to see how varied colors look in monochrome. Begin a behavior of noticing how totally different lighting impacts shades of gray in your images.

Good Gentle Dilemma

As you journey you aren’t at all times in a position to anticipate the right gentle. Excessive, mid-day solar might be difficult. Working in black and white can at instances profit from an in any other case tough gentle.
Pay attention to the variances of tone and light-weight inside your compositions. It will assist you resolve if it would look finest in black and white or in colour. Form, kind and texture inside your composition may also have an effect on this selection.
Black and White Travel Photography shot

Form and Type

The interplay of shapes inside your composition is essential. Shapes of various colours, textures, or supplies will replicate gentle in varied methods. The connection between them produces both a distinction or lack of it.
Search for adjoining parts in your compositions reflecting the sunshine in numerous methods. Does this produce a delightful distinction in tone? If that’s the case, it could look nice as a monochrome {photograph}.
My photograph of the flooded rice paddies demonstrates such a distinction. The water reflecting the sky and the low earth dykes distinction fantastically. The darkish hills and cloudy sky collectively present extra drama within the picture due to the tone variation.
black and white overhead landscape photo of flooded paddie fields, the dark hills and cloudy sky are beautifully reflected in the water below.
Generally the sunshine itself will create attention-grabbing shapes and distinction. On this road portrait from Istanbul the sunshine and shadow are the strongest design of the photograph. The darkish shadow behind the person and throughout his face create a slightly summary look. This works due to the distinction.
black and white street portrait from Istanbul, a man rests his hand on a shop mannequin traditional costume.
When there’s not a lot distinction, however the form and kind attracts you, make your photograph black and white. Clean graduations in tone can emphasise form with interesting fashion. All the time take note the emotion and impression you want to convey together with your images. The interplay of tone and shapes and lighting will have an effect on this.
Black and white close up photo of a tree


As you journey from place to position together with your digicam, concentrate on textures.
You may emphasise texture by setting your publicity for the brightest space of your picture. I’ve used this method in my photograph of the durian fruits. Don’t fear in case your digicam is telling you the picture is underneath uncovered, you need it to be! This heightens the impact and drama.
 bold shadowy close up of durian fruits,
A cloudy sky can usually tackle a scraggy character. With a deep, wealthy blue behind the clouds the impact might be dramatic. That is once more the results of cautious publicity settings. In the event you can underneath expose the sky, the tone will deepen and distinction extra with the clouds. On this black and white photograph, the sunshine color of the rocks helps maintain the general stability.
Black and white travel photography of large rocks beneath a scraggy cloudy sky
I like the combination of textures on this photograph of my spouse on Piha seaside on New Zealand’s west coast. It’s a rugged shore line and the ocean is tough. Because the water recedes over the sand it seems jagged. This texture enhances her smooth countenance. Utilizing a flash I’ve maintained stability in my publicity on my spouse and the background.
Black and white travel photo of a girl walking on Pina beach, New Zealand, rough waves and rocky coastline behind her
Every of those images works nicely in color, the feel in every of them completely pops in monochrome.

Join With Your Topic and Viewers

Speaking together with your topic is essential to present that means to your images. Equally so in colour as it’s in black and white pictures. Pictures with out color are likely to convey this extra apparently.
Folks will usually muse that black and white pictures conveys a lot extra emotion. The emotion you need to categorical is of your feeling once you have been taking the photograph. Revealing the way you linked together with your topic will make your black and white pictures extra compelling.
Black and white portrait of a girl in traditional costume smiling towards the camera, framed by a blurred figure in the foreground holding a mask, black and white photography
Discovering your self in a brand new place, in an odd tradition, will heighten your feelings. This is a perfect time to attach and convey your emotions. As a traveller (slightly than a vacationer or an area) you’ll encounter conditions that may transfer you. It could be an immense panorama, a historic break or an impoverished mom and her youngster. Specific your emotions.

Develop Model

Creating the flexibility to symbolize your emotions in photos will assist outline private photographic fashion. This isn’t straightforward to do. It won’t seemingly come about throughout your subsequent journey. The topic is seldom written about. It will make an attention-grabbing guide or video sequence.
Martin Parr does it splendidly in color. Lee Jefferies does it beautifully in black and white. Most of us battle to do it in a lifetime of image taking.
Purposefully selecting to {photograph} in black and white will help us talk. Not solely talk visually, but in addition emotionally. However earlier than we are able to do that, we should first join.

Bonus Ideas

  • If color provides that means, course of the picture in color.
  • Search for mirrored gentle. This will add larger depth to your images.
  • Saving your images in RAW format offers you the posh to later select if you would like them colour or black and white. In case your digicam is ready to save lots of JPEG photos you’ll not have this feature.
  • Squint your eyes when you find yourself lining up your images. It will assist you see the sunshine and darkish areas.
  • Don’t be afraid to smile on the folks you need to {photograph} and join with them.

When travelling to locations the place we have no idea the language we’ve extra restricted technique of communication. Black and white pictures limits what we are able to present in our images. Each of those limitations might be advantageous.
Black and white travel portrait
A smile at somebody and a nod in the direction of the digicam in your hand could achieve you permission to take a stranger’s photograph. Talking to them, you probably have a typical language, could entail questions and a unfavorable response.
Relying solely on gray tones can simplify your photos and strengthen their sense of feeling.

We All Love A Good Story

As you start your subsequent journey, or proceed the one you might be presently having fun with, purpose to inform your story. Inform your story with compelling black and white pictures.
Taking snap photographs of attention-grabbing issues is straightforward when you find yourself travelling. To create extra interesting black and white pictures use your digicam mindfully. Take into consideration the sunshine and shade. Think about texture and tone. Watch what the sunshine is doing. Compose nicely and time your images to profit from your expertise.

Dramatic texture of rice fields in the evening in northern Thailand, Black and white photography
Dramatic texture of rice fields within the night in northern Thailand.

Once I journey, I need to make images which categorical my expertise in a narrative. How I felt about being on this place. My sense of surprise, or despair, or elation. I need folks to see my images as if they have been on the journey with me.
Goal to mix feeling together with your black and white pictures. Doing this can assist you create extra fascinating journey photos. Selecting black and white pictures as your medium will deliver a depth and dynamism that’s usually absent in colour photos.