How to Edit Black and White Photos

Edit black and white photos

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Did you know that Alfred Stieglitz was an advocate of craftsmanship in early 20th-century photography? If you’re hoping to bring out a better sense of craft in your black and white photography, you have a lot more tools at your disposal than he did. You just need to learn how to use them.

Read on to find out some tricks to edit your black and white photos!

Prioritize Composition

When you take photos, you may try your best to craft the perfect composition. But when you open the photo in your photo editing software, it might be lacking. Fortunately, you can use the crop tool to hone in on a tighter composition. 

Use the rule of thirds to guide your approach. Divide the composition into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Then look to see if you have a focal point sitting at one of the places where the lines intersect. This helps ensure that an element of the photograph anchors the composition. 

Crop out excess space. Or you can remove background from an image where it dominates the composition. Play around before committing to a composition!

SEE ALSO: Take Good Photos This Fall Season With These 11 Photography Basics

Take on Texture and Contrast

When color isn’t the star of the show, contrast and texture can be. If you’re editing black and white photos of trees, for instance, you can enhance the look of the tree bark. In your photo editing software, choose a tool that lets you sharpen the appearance of edges on the bark or leaves.

To create depth, use a blur tool to soften the bark on trees that sit furthest away from the viewer. Creating contrast within textures can enhance the sense of depth in your image.

Photo editing also should include paying careful attention to contrast. You can apply an automatic adjustment to contrast in most photo editing software, but you should plan on adjusting it in specific areas, too.

Avoid photos that contain too much gray. These photos can look bland and lack depth. Adjust the contrast to create pops of black and white that will give your photo more range and visual interest. 

Don’t Overlook Yellow

Did you know that the color yellow can impact black and white photography? When it comes to photography tips, a surprising one is to adjust the yellow settings on a black and white photo. 

Consider applying a yellow filter to a beach scene photograph from your last vacation, for example. A subtle layer of yellow can enhance the appearance of white highlights while setting back the darkest values. 

If you’re working with a portrait, adjusting the yellow balance can achieve a more polished look on someone’s skin. Similarly, toggling the red levels can help smooth out skin tone.

SEE ALSO: How to Take Better Photos with Your iPhone?

Make Your Black and White Photos Shine

Black and white photos offer a crisp approach to capturing the world around you. Focus on creating a compelling composition and adjusting the contrast to create more drama. Then tweak the texture and color balance to arrive at a winning photo. 

Find more photo editing tips. Check back soon for new articles!