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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 #2
Look 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 #3
Contrast, 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 #4
Learn 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!

This article is a walk down memory lane in pursiut of the history of postcards. Postcard collecting and study is a common hobby shared by individuals all around the world. Even though you may not be a postcard collector, I bet you’ve sent or received a couple over the years. You, therefore, owe it to yourself to have some knowledge of the origin and history of postcards. This dates back as far as the 80s when postcards were mostly uniform and rigged with restrictions.

To better understand and appreciate the journey of the postcard to what it is today, we have to go to the very beginning. We start by shedding light into the mailing system back then and travel through time to date, where postcard designs are a matter of your creativity rather than adherence to regulations.

The History Of Postcards
Background

Like any institution, the mail industry has undergone some tremendous changes that made it what it is today. Things used to run a little different back in the 80s in terms of sending and receiving mails. For instance, mails were charged depending on the number of pages in your letter and the distance traveled. To top it off, the recipient was the one who used to bear the cost of sending the letter.

This, of course, posed a lot of challenges in collecting money as many recipients would refuse to receive the letters to avoid getting charged. Thanks to Sir Rowland Hill, the England Postmaster general, reforms to the mailing system where made and passed by parliament. The cost of sending mail now depended on the weight of your letter and the sender would pay for delivery. This was done by the purchase of a postage stamp. And thus with the potage act, the first stamp, the penny black was sold in 1840, paving way to many other reforms that gave birth to the postcard.

The History Of Postcards
Before Postcards – 1840-1860

Before postcards were the craze, lithographs, woodcuts and mailed cards exited. Later, the picture envelope developed by William Mulready, James Valentine, DICKEY Doyle and E.R.W Hume, became the closest link to postcards. They had all kinds of pictures especially those of Patriots during the Civil War. Comics, landmarks, and music also made it to these envelopes.

The History Of Postcards
The Beginning – 1860- 1875

The first privately owned postcard was created by J.P Charlton in 1861 it was also the very first postcard to exist. Unfortunately, Carlton’s postcards did not catch on due to interference by the Civil War. They would later resurface but under ownership of Lipmann who got a patent for them.

The first government postcards were made in Austria in 1869, however, the idea of government postcards did not originate here. The idea originated from Germany, as a result of the efforts of postal official Dr. Heinrich von Stephan. The German government was reluctant to green-light the idea due to delegations hence producing their first postcards a year after Austria. Other states swiftly followed suit with the United States issuing its government postcard in 1873.

The History Of Postcards
Message At The Front

Unlike today’s postcards where the picture was at the font and message at the back, these postcards had everything printed at the front.

To top this, private postcards (not issued by the government) had to bear the term “Private Mailing Card” at the back which was mailed at two cents. The government postcards were the only ones allowed t bare the term postal cards and were mailed at a cent. As I said, postcards were highly restricted!

The postcards were largely used for keeping up with friends and family especially by soldiers at war. With time, advertisements were made on postcards. Eventually, landmarks such as the Eiffel tower made it to the cover sometimes to the degree of having natural disasters printed too!

The History Of Postcards
Postcards Go Private. 1898-1901

Finally, private postcard printers caught a break when the government allowed the private postcards to be issued at one cent, same price as government postcards. They still had to bear the title private mailing cards and have writings at the front.

The History Of Postcards
Message Still At The Front But More Organized. 1901-1915

A lot of changes took place during this time hence many refer to this period as the “Golden Age” of postcards. For one, private postcards in the US were allowed to bear the title “Post Cards”. With time, many counties decided to change the orientation of postcards dedicating the right side to the address while the left side was for the message. The fact that literacy had increased further encouraged sending of postcards hence giving more weight to the Golden Era” title.

With time, things changed further giving room to the divided back postcard where the message was at the back exposing the beautiful image in front. England was the first Country to permit this which opened door for other countries to follow suit.

The History Of Postcards
Post Modern Era. 1916-1945

Things were changing in terms of the appearance of postcards. Between 1916 and1930, white border postcards were common. They consisted of a white border line around the picture.

Then later came the linen postcards thanks to technology allowing printing on linen  During this time, humor was quite common in postcards with people sending funny postcards, some even for World War Two.

The History Of Postcards
Photographic Cards.

Finally, real modern postcards came to be! It started in 1939 after the beginning of the Union oil series. This has seen the number of postcards sent throughout the years increase despite the increase in cost of sending the postcards. This also came with the ease in sending postcards and the freedom of printing whatever you like on your cards. Nowadays, you can even send postcards electronically, how cool is that!

Last Word

That’s pretty much every important moment in the making of postcards. While traveling back in time is fun, take a little time and send a postcard today. Help keep the postcard culture going on. If not for the sake of history, at least do it for the sake of putting a smile on someone’s face!