In this article I will talk to you about why you should try to make black and white images of architecture. Why do you want to do that if you have color? Well black and white images have their own strengths that color images don’t have.
What is so different with black and white photography?
Examples of architecture in black and white
- Shadows and highlights.
Black and white puts more emphasis on the shadows and the highlights in your photo. It will create more drama to your photo in an instant. Personally I love conversions with a red filter. A blue sky will turn into a dramatic dark black sky and white clouds pop out of your photo.
- Less distraction.
We all love colors, but in your photo they can become a serious distraction. There are photos were color distracts the viewer from the essence of the photo. If you have a photo with little interesting colors, try to leave them out completely. See what happens!
- Classical feel.
Photography started out as black and white only. So converting your image to black and white gives your image a classical and timeless feel in an instant. We are used to see color images all day. Black and white is different. Even if it is a photo from a modern building, black and white gives it a classical feel.
- It´s an interpretation.
If you photograph in color you almost automatically try to match the colors to what you have seen, or make it a little more dramatic. But if you convert your image to black and white, its disconnected from the reality in color. Now it is easier to make an artistic interpretation of your photo.
- More emphasis on lines and form.
Lines and form are key elements in architectural photography. So using black and white to photograph architecture is a great idea to put more emphasis on the lines and the form of the building you are photographing.
I´ll show you here a few examples of my own black and white photography of architecture:
This the office of Europeesche verzekeringen in Amsterdam. I made the image black and white to put more emphasis on the dark round windows, that look like black holes.
The abandoned bridge
This old abandoned bridge is the bridge near Vianen in the heart of The Netherlands. I choose to make this image (that is part of a bigger series) black and white for giving it a more classical feel. I added a little sepia tone to strengthen that.
Shine a light on me
This is the Prins Clausbridge in Utrecht, The Netherlands. This bridge is designed by the world famous architectural firm UNStudio. These lamps were placed a few years after the bridge was completed. With the conversion to black and white the clear blue sky turned pitchblack an created a wonderful contrast with the bridge.
This is the famous station of Luik Guillemins, which was designed by Santiago Calatrava. When I walked outside the station I saw these workers on the roof of the station. To me it looked like the were working on the slopes of a winery. The two trails and that one puffy white cloud did the rest. The dark black sky created the perfect canvas for these important elements of this photo.
Want to learn more?
If you want to start to convert your own architectural images into black and white, read my article Convert your images to black and white with NIK Silver Efex Pro. NIK Silver Efex Pro is the best software on the planet for converting your work into great black and white artworks!
Want learn and know more about photographing landscape and architecture (in color or black and white)? Buy NOW my eBook “Improve Your Photos: Landscape and Architecture”!
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