Knowing What to Shoot
Historical monuments might look magnificent in colour, but it is not necessary for the grandeur to translate in the same manner when shot in black and white.
Most often, the colours that make these structures attractive, are not as vibrant in B&W. They mostly end up looking like the same shade of grey. Which is why, it is important to previsualise what the building will look like when it is stripped of all its colour.
Drawing Out Shapes
Architecture is all about form. Therefore, it is easy to get lost in the different shapes and lines that make up the structure. For this reason, it is important to choose a feature that is simple in form, and has strong lines and shapes.
In addition to this, the colours may sometimes distract you from noticing certain aspects of the building. But by converting the image to B&W, you will notice how your eyes move around the frame, noticing the different lines and forms in the photograph.
Using Light Dramatically
Shooting in B&W also gives you the opportunity to play with light in different theatrical ways, which may not always be possible when shooting in colour.
Once you have located your light source, look around and see what kind of shapes and patterns it creates on the ground or the neighbouring walls. For instance, see what kind of effect is created when light streams through latticework.
Also, remember that you will be able to capture high contrast images only when the sun is directly hitting the structure.
Tackling Bad Weather
A good architecture colour shot is defined by its vibrant sky, as much as it is by its grandeur. But what if the weather is bad? The good thing about shooting black and white pictures is that you don’t have to worry about dull or gloomy skies. All you have to do is use a red filter, which helps in increasing contrast in the image.
This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Better Photography.Tags: Tips & Tricks, shapes, form, Monuments, Buildings, April 2015, Black & White, Monochromatic Architecture