How to Take Monochromatic Photos – Tips for Beginners

There is something about monochromatic photos that still make them unique. Many times, these monochromatic photos look more stunning and captivating than their colored equivalents.

Monochromatic photos don’t let the story you want to tell fade away in the colors. These black and white photos let the viewers focus on the more important things in the photograph, like the emotions of the subject or their story. A black and white photo delivers a much stronger message than it would look in a colored photograph. When you eliminate color from photos, other elements like the texture, shadow, pattern, and light are accentuated in a beautiful way which makes the photos more breathtaking.

Monochrome photos tips for beginners

If you are just starting out in monochromatic photography, here are some tips to help you do a great job.

Learn from Old Monochromatic Movies

To learn the art of monochromatic photography, you can teach yourself a lot by watching old black and white movies. The moviemakers back then did not have colored cameras and hence made use of the perfect shades and lighting to enhance their pictures and to grab the attention of the onlookers.

All emotions, including depression, love, admiration, jealousy, elation, hate etc, were narrated using light. Watching these old movies can be a great learning experience, especially for beginners.

Choose the Right Gear

Another important thing to consider when beginning monochromatic photography is choosing the right camera. This totally depends on your discretion, as there is no best choice in it. If you are clicking monochromatic photos as just a hobby, a phone camera might work for you.

On the other hand, if you are clicking for professional reasons, you will have to buy a decent camera, and more importantly, a great lens to work with. When you choose a camera for monochromatic photography, pay special attention to the filters and lenses. Since these photos mainly rely on tonality and sharp contrast, you need to have a lens that has these qualities.


monochrome photos ansel adams

Deepen the Dark Hues to Get Brighter Whites

One of the core principles of monochromatic photography is that if you are looking to get a brighter white, you should deepen the black as much as you want. The deeper the dark tones are, the brighter the light ones will appear. Also, it is not necessary that the entire photo should consist of black and white colors only. There will be some other hues of grey as well which will help the viewers in seeing the image’s texture.

Choose the Right Subject

Not all photos appear as striking in black and white colors and vice versa. Therefore, you need to choose the right subject to get the best monochromatic photos. For example, the photo of a sunset will not look so appealing when captured in black and white, as the main attraction of the image is the different hues of colors the sky is at the time of sunset. Similarly, if you are photographing a very colorful bird or flower, shooting it in black and white will take the appeal away from it.

Monochromatic photos old man face


The best subjects for black and white photographs are rustic subjects as these photos have a rustic feel and charm to them. For example, clicking a photograph of an old man with wrinkles on his face will look much more appealing in a monochromatic tone than in colors. Thus, the quality of the image also depends on the subject you are photographing.

These are some basic tips to keep in mind when clicking monochromatic photos always remember to experiment and most importantly practice a lot.