Monochrome photography is where the image contains only one hue rather than all the colours of the rainbow, this can be in tones of grey as in classic black and white photography, but sepia and cyan can also be used to great effect.
Monochrom photography is very often used for artistic reasons, and as colours and their interplay are no longer present to distract, key elements such as lighting and composition take on a new priority.
But what is it about black and white photography that despite the world being ablaze with colour and the possibilities to capture it becoming ever more sophisticated, that we still find black and white photography so mesmerising?
Perhaps it has something to do with the way our eyes and brains process vision, because the eye has two types of photo-receptor, one for colour information, and the other, far more numerous, for tonal, just greys, which facilitates low light or night vision, which is why we see everything under moon-light in just black, white and shades of grey.
Monochrome photography can also be far less discriminating, because clashing or washed out hues which could easily ruin a colour print are instead rendered in interesting tones of just one colour and it is therefore far better suited to displaying the essence and raw emotion of a scene.
It also has a somewhat timeless quality about it.
We will be shooting in monochrome and NOT shooting in colour and just desaturating our best pictures at home in Photoshop afterwards, that’s cheating, so make sure you know how to set your camera correctly before you come to the event please, but the easiest option will probably be to use one of the automatic filter settings most modern cameras come equipped with as standard.
Some examples illustrating the technique
Tips for when on location
- Set the LCD-screen / viewfinder on the camera to black and white, and if possible try to shoot in B/W too (JPEG and RAW).
- Pay special attention to: line, shadow, shape and contrast.
- Less is often more, so try to keep the number of visual elements in the composition to a minimum.
© Andrew James Kirkwood – 2017