Black and white photography: what are the best subjects?

black and white landscape from DCM260
(Image credit: Future)

Black and white photography allows you to step away from reality to create a mood, express emotion and focus on the elements of a composition in a way that color photography just can’t do. Color is conventional, which means that a black and white image has the potential to draw people in and make them look a bit deeper. 

That’s not to say that color isn’t a powerful compositional device in its own right – one that you can use to evoke a mood and highlight a subject or story – it’s just that monochrome enables viewers to step back and consider the themes and relationships between elements in a different way. 

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Marcus Hawkins
Photo expert and journalist

Marcus has been passionate about photography for more than 25 years. A former editor of our sister publication Digital Camera magazine, he has written about photography and cameras for a wide range of clients, including Canon and Jessops. Last time we checked, Marcus was using a Canon EOD 5D Mark IV.

With contributions from