Previously thought off as a limitation of the time, grayscale photography has made a remarkable comeback in recent years!
Previously, photographers were limited and forced to use black and white cameras. With the advent of chromatic cameras, monochrome photography quickly went out of style. However, in recent years, grayscale photography has really made a comeback as a stylistic choice.
When Logan (Hugh Jackman’s au revoir to his infamous Wolverine character) was released in black and white, the director of the summer blockbuster promised a “sumptuous” experience for devoted fans. This raised some eyebrows, and the age-old question resurfaced; why stick with grayscale when our cameras are getting better each day?
Well that question is exactly what we’re trying to answer today. Here’s why most artists and professional photographers stick with grayscale photography.
Why Grayscale Photography?
Straight off the bat, the biggest reason people quote for choosing a black and white color scheme is that it looks beautiful. While we won’t argue with that logic (because we whole heatedly agree with it), we’ll be looking to answer the question at hand in less vague terms.
It Focuses on the Subject
What a grayscale photograph does way better than a colored picture is that it draws focus on the subject matter. Often a colored picture will have a pretty sunset or a breathtaking landscape in its background, which distracts away from the subject of your picture.
Now replace that distracting background with a grim gray and you’re only adding more to your picture, while actually taking stuff away from it! When it comes to photography, make this a rule of thumb; less is more!
You’ll See Light From Different Perspective
Natural light can be very tricky to master. It plays well with everything in a room and suppressing it can be quite troublesome. On the other hand, if you don’t suppress it, your picture might get ruined by over exposure!
Now if you see the same room in a grayscale perspective, everything looks and feels different! By taking away the color of the light, you add more emphasis on the direction of the light. Moreover, the quality and the quantity of the light in a room is really showcased in a black and white environment.
It Emphasizes on Emotion
Speaking of emphasizing, if you want to highlight the emotion in your picture, stick with a monochrome tone. Every freckle, every wrinkle and every expression is amplified in a black and white color contrast!
Just look at the picture below. Look at the subject of the picture and it’s almost as if you can feel his emotion. The black and white color scale has this remarkable quality of being more intimate and vivid than a colored picture. This raw emotion is one of the biggest reasons why photographers love playing with black and white!
Now if the picture was colored, there’s a possibility that viewers might get distracted by the door behind the subject. This is why we think color distracts from the subject of the picture while grayscale highlights every single detail a photographer wants you to see.
Grayscale photography can be very difficult to master. You should know there’s a difference between applying a black and white filter on your pictures and creating stunning black and white portraits!
The author of this post is a regular contributor. He is passionate about photography and is the founder of Improve Your Photography Online.