You can’t just make an image black and white and expect it to work

Black and white editing
'Straight' black and white images (left) almost always need some kind of digital darkroom work to bring them to life (right). (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

Much of the history of photography has been in black and white, and it still inspires and fascinates today’s photographers. Some want to recreate that ‘retro’ look just by association with that period in time, but others are fascinated by the visual language of black and white and its more dramatic, abstract feel.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at