There is something timeless and classic about a black and white photograph. This is true whether you’re looking at a portrait from your wedding or a snapshot of your kid playing in the sprinkler.
It even applies to travel photography.
When you think of travel pictures, colorful bazaars and brilliant sunsets over the ocean probably come to mind. Just think about all the epic photos you’ve seen of the Eiffel Tower with the sky ablaze as the sun goes down.
What if that same photo of the Eiffel Tower were a well-done black and white photo? The feel would change. That brilliant photo would suddenly become something classic, timeless, and oh-so-Parisian.
But slapping a black and white filter on any old photo will not create the same effect. First, you need to learn how to intentionally create epic black and white photos. The following tips can help you do this.
Black and White Travel Pictures Tip #1
The Rule of Thirds
First thing’s first, learn at least a few of the basic composition rules. Unless you’re a prodigy at photography you’ll have to develop your eye. Some people naturally have this more than others but everyone can benefit from a little help.
The Rule of Thirds is one of the most basic and easiest to learn. Most people naturally put their subject smack dab in the middle of the photo. It’s the instinctual way to take a photo–and also the most boring.
The Rule of Thirds says to divide your photo into thirds (like tic-tac-toe) and place your subject along one of those lines. If you have a hard time visualizing it, most smartphone camera apps have a grid that you can add to screen to help you.
Black and White Travel Pictures Tip #2Look for the Light
Photography is all about working with light. As paint is the painter’s medium, light is the photographer’s.
At the very least be sure you’re working with pretty light. Harsh sunlight generally doesn’t make for flattering photos–especially when the sun is overhead. Look for shade or aim to take most of your photos early or late when the sun is lower in the sky.
Once you get the basics down, start looking for interesting light. A mesh pattern from sun filtering through a fence or screen, a spotlight on a bush or statue, etc. Be careful of dappled light, especially for portraits, that usually just ends up with weird shadows. If you’re still not sure read through part one and part two of our detailed guide to photographer from beginner to advanced.
Black and White Travel Pictures Tip #3Contrast, Shape, Texture
Because you’re taking out the color in black and white photos, contrast, shape, and texture become all the more important. Look for these elements as you’re taking photos to really make your photos pop.
Black and White Travel Pictures Tip #4Learn Basic Editing
All photos benefit from a bit of touchup. You don’t have to become an editing whizz but learning a few simple tricks can really make a difference.
Try photo editing apps like Snapseed. You can edit your photos right on your smartphone, no fancy computer or program required. Choose from an array of filters and use the tools to fine-tune.
Play with your shadows. Add some contrast and clarity. It’s addictive and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to create epic travel the world pictures in black and white once you get used to it.
Take Epic Travel Pictures!
With these tips in hand, all that’s left is to head out on your next adventure. Choose your shots intentionally and play with the editing. When you get back all your friends will be envious not only of your trip but also of the epic travel pictures you took!
For more great travel photography tips, be sure to check out our ultimate travel photography guide!