Look for Contrasts for Better Black & White Images

When you are trying to make an effective black and white photograph, it's easy to be distracted by the colors in the scene. Sometimes a colorful subject does not make a strong monochrome picture. You can increase your success rate by looking for contrasts. These can be created by differences in light, sharpness or texture. (Rob Sheppard's ebook The Power of Black and White in Nature and Landscape Photography is helpful on this subject.)

Contrasting rough and soft textures make effective black & white images.

This photo of an old barn and roof against a sky of puffy clouds contrasts the rough boards and shingles with the soft clouds. Turned to black and white, these texture differences are more pronounced.

The original color image

But just removing the color from the photo can leave you with a lackluster image. Using photo editing software (Lightroom Classic in this case), I was able to darken the sky and make the clouds stand out.

Without editing the sky is dull and lacks interest.

Learn more about digital photography, both color and black & white in my Missoula, Montana, classes. New courses begin in October, 2019. Click here for a list of upcoming courses.