I read last year in a book that in order for you to take a good black and white picture, you need to be able to “see” the world in black and white. It took practice, but eventually I began to notice certain things: brights and darks, light and shadow, the fact that colors like yellow and green will usually turn up gray in a B&W photo, etc.
Tip: To help you see the world in B&W, switch your camera’s color setting to monochrome.
Ignoring color, I also began to see textures and shapes and patterns. And that’s usually what I wound up taking a picture of. I would find tiny, white flowers in an otherwise dark forest. I would pay very close attention to the way sunlight touched a leaf and nothing else on the entire tree. During the winter, when I didn’t have flowers and leaves, I would point the camera toward the sky and make the bare limbs my subject.
I will confess that with color photography, I’m never able to envision what I want the picture to look like in the end. But when my goal is to put something in black and white I can always see exactly what I want everyone else to see. Whether or not that goal is accomplished is, really, up to the viewer.
Almost, if not all, of these photos were taken with my lens detached
All photos © by Lina Forrester.