Tip Tuesday//Bold Black & Whites//Kate Luber Photography

It's no secret that I love a good black and white image, but what, exactly, makes a good black and white image? Of course, there is so much that is personal preference, but this is what I look for when creating a black and white image.


A good black and white begins with great light. Flat lit images tend to be, well, flat. You may hear people refer to a black and white being "muddy" and it's often a result of flat light. I like to look for directional light or dramatic light that sculpts a face or a scene to add depth.


Tonal Range & Contrast

A good black and white covers all of the tones from pure black to the whitest white and all of the grays in between. When all of the tones are concentrated in the midtones, it can also leave the image with a flat or muddy feel. Look for scenes with a wide range of tones when converting. If the tones in the scene are concentrated around the midtones, experiment with the color sliders and adding contrast to stretch to stretch the histogram to cover the full range.


When color is removed from an image, there needs to be another way to add depth and interest. Texture is a great way to add interest to a photo. Using directional light and full range of tones, you can enhance texture in a black and white photo to engage the viewer's sense of touch and draw them in to an image.