Monochrome is perfect for emphasising patterns. The patterns of dappled light through out-of-focus trees looks fantastic when given the black-and-white treatment.
2 COLOUR VERSION
Although we’re used to seeing the world in colour, it can sometimes be an unnecessary distraction. Monochrome is a great simplifier, so if a scene is dominated by one colour, or if the background is distractingly colourful, consider converting it to mono.
3 SHADES OF GREY
It sounds obvious, but a black-and-white image is made up of shades of grey, so try to view the world in this way – brown hair, for example, is a dark grey tone. Think about the brightness of parts of a scene and forget the colour. If you’re finding this difficult, try setting the monochrome picture style, found within your SLR’s menu.
Stripping out the colour helps to draw the eye into the face because there are no distracting colours to take attention away from it. So expression and character are amplified in black-and-white portraits.
Think about the difference in light and tone between the subject and the background, and look for contrast between the two. Here parts of the background are in deep shade, while the model stands in the brighter foreground. Against a mostly darker background, the subject stands out.
A monochrome conversion emphasises texture. Here the texture of flowers in the model’s dress goes almost unnoticed when the image is in colour. But convert to mono and that delicate floral texture becomes an important part of the portrait.