Black and White Photography

Why do we like black and white photographs?

What a question. Well to be honest I cannot answer this question for you. But I can tell you what I like about black and white photography and how I post process my photographs to give them “my” look.

Why do I like black and white photographs?

It´s all about the motive! It is not the color that is catching the eye, it is the motive. It is the story the photographer is trying to tell us. Reduced to black and white!

What I want to show you with this post is how easy it is to get stunning results out of a picture that in color looks good but is nothing that spectacular. Motives that you have seen many times before but this time the catch your eye.

It´s simple!

You can use Adobe Lightroom if you have this software. Or as I do most of the time Nik Silver Efex Pro2.

I love the Nik software tools. They are so simple to use and the results are awesome.

For instance this shot.

The Eiffel Tower must be one of the most photographed in the world. Every day thousands of people photograph it. I did too.

But I chose a different perspective. The shot looks great in color but if you take a look at the black and white version it get´s a very unique look

The often photographed Eiffel Tower in color

The often photographed Eiffel Tower in color

This shot was an easy one to post process. All I did was convert it to black and white and add a red filter.

The same shot in black&white

The same shot in black&white

The next one was a little more difficult.

First of all I had to get the metering right. I had the finished black and white shot in my mind even before releasing the shutter. The problem on this photograph was the lighting. I wanted the gargoyle to have a certain 3D look to it. To achieve this I used the little EF-X20 flash from Fujifilm. Set it to remote trigger and used the internal flash on the X100s to trigger the small EF-X20. This was not mounted on the camera but in my left hand with the flash heading straight to the gargoyle.

Second step was the post processing. Again I used Nik Silver Efex Pro2. The shot is automatically converted to a tiff.  I added a little contrast to the whole shot. After that I started adding several U-Control points to certain parts of the photograph. Every single control point was edited. I changed the brightness, the structure and the black level. Using the structure bar does one great thing. For instance the clouds! If you add more structure they become more  defined. I love this look

View from Notre Dame colored

View from Notre Dame


The same procedure as every year! Or, the same procedure as on the gargoyle shot.

On the next shots the post processing steps have been very similar as on the last shown gargoyle shot. As you can see I am showing you two versions of the photograph. The first is the untouched jpeg straight out of the camera and the second is the finished black and white shot. The black and white photograph I am showing you had not been processed out of the jpeg shot. I tend to use the raw file for one main reason. More detail. If you start editing jpeg files to a black and white shot you have to be very careful not to get banding effects.

Let us take a look at the next shots.

Louvre Arch colored

Louvre Arch black&white

Pyramid colored

Pyramid black&white

Pont des Arts colored

Pont des Arts black&white

Building colored

Building black&white

Eiffeltower colored

Eiffeltower BlackandWhite (1)

As you can see on the last shot with the Eiffel Tower in the distance the sky is nearly all black. I like to use this effect as the clouds seem to pop right out at you. I also used this effect on a flower shot. To achieve this all I did was add a red filter. This again was done in Nik Silver Efex Pro2. It is simple. Add the red filter. Choose the intenseness of the color and that is it.

Flower colored

Flower black&white

To top off this long post of today I will show you that black and white photography even looks good on landscape shots. Although I must admit that I like the colored version better. This is due to the fact that the wonderful Fujifilm colors come into play. They are something very special.

Landscape colored

Landscape black&white


By now you will have noticed that my choice of tool is Nik Silver Efex Pro2. This software is so simple to use. Once you get hand of it you will see what I mean.

If you have any questions regarding this post, the software or anything else feel free to drop a comment, contact me via email or the contact form on this blog.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your time with me.



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  6. Hallo Daniel,

    Dein Blog ist sehr interessant. Zur Schwarzweiß-Bearbeitung habe ich eine Frage. Du schreibst “my choice of tool is Nik Silver Efex Pro2”. Ist das nur eine Vorliebe, oder lassen sich solche Bearbeitungen mit anderen Programmen (z.B. Photoshop Elements) nicht so gut machen?

    Vielen Dank im voraus und beste Grüße

    Peter Krumme

    • Hallo Peter,

      Dazu kann ich nicht so viel sagen. Nur das ich meine Ergebnisse mit Adobe Lightroom nicht so hinbekomme wie mit der Nik Software. Bei Photoshop Elements kenne ich mich nicht aus, daher kann ich dazu nichts sagen.
      Ich hoffe das hilft dir etwas weiter.


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