How to Shoot and Edit Black and White Photos

Have a great photo but want to turn it up a notch? Transform your image by editing in black and white.

It’s one of the most classic ways to elevate any photo to make it striking or even powerful. Often, it can remove distractions and allow the audience to focus on what really matters in a photograph.

You don’t need a professional grade camera nor tinker with complicated photo editing software on your computer to turn out a stunning black and white image. You can do it right on your phone!

But first, what subjects would make for a good black and white photo?

Tips for Black and White Photography

  • Great Lighting

    Black & White Photography: Lighting

    Lighting is very important with all kinds of photography, but especially so for black and white. High contrast images that can be achieved with proper lighting will not lose their details even when you take away the color.

  • Texture

    Black & White Photography: Texture

    Texture makes for more contrast, which gives you a lot more to work with visually. Close-ups make for great black and white photos because the closer you get to a subject, the more their textures are brought out.

  • Clear Crisp Lines

    Black & White Photography: Clean Lines

    You want bold lines that really bring out contrast within the photo and help better outline your subject. A neat photo of a gallery wall will make for a striking black and white picture because of its clear and defined lines - plus the lack of color will leave much for the mind to imagine, usually painting a much stronger image mentally.

  • Portraits

    Black & White Photography: Portraits

    Color can sometimes be a distraction. When it comes to portraits, especially ones that have a lot of emotion in them, converting it to black and white tones down distracting elements and draws your attention the overall emotion within the image.

Knowing which subjects make for great black and white photos is only the first step. We understand that smart phone cameras these days will allow you to shoot in black and white - don't! Your first step to creating awesome black and white edits is to shoot in color.

That’s right! It’s better to take a photo in color and edit it. Why? Your phone’s camera captures a lot more detail when it shoots in normal color settings as black and white options usually shoot in high contrast. When you have more detail captured, you have more elements to play around with during editing.

Editing a colored photo and turning it black and white may involve a bit more than tapping on your editor’s B&W setting. Playing around with brightness levels and applying filters will turn a good black and white photo into something absolutely stunning.

Editing Black & White Photography

On Instasize, there are numerous black and white filters to choose from - including the new Charcoal Collection. These filters can add a sentimental touch or give your image a more contemporary and modern tone.

  • Don't be afraid to play up brightness and contrast: After applying your favorite black and white filter, have some fun with the brightness and contrast adjustments that Instasize provides. When it comes to black and white edits, you can be more extreme and play with adjustment settings that really bring out your image details. Create bold contrast on more minimal photos for a powerful final product.

  • Adjust Color tone and exposure: Manipulating the cooler and warmer tones within your image will give you different black and white effects. Adjusting the exposure of your image will determine which elements of your image will be highlighted or given focus.

  • Eliminating unnecessary background noise: Put further emphasis on your subject. Experiment with different cropping ratios on Instasize to completely transform your original image.

Editing with a black and white filter is a great way to pull to the forefront elements of a photograph that don’t ordinarily get much notice. Try it on your photos and see how striking they become! Unlock the Charcoal Collection and a plethora of other premium filter collections with a free trial of Instasize Premium.

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