The first color photograph dates back to 1861, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when it became the primary form of photography. Many assumed that once color photography was available to everyone, black and white photography would be relegated to niche genres or even forgotten all together. But much like film, monochromatic images are more alive than ever before. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to find a photography website that doesn’t include at least one black and white picture.
We could write a whole article with the reasons why black and white photography survived the passage of time and we’d still forget some. The most important, and evident, of them is the fact that we don’t see the world in black and white. Because of this, shooting monochromatic photos offers a whole different perspective of our surroundings.
Numerous photographers believe everyone should shoot black and white photos every so often. They concur that the lack of color pushes us to pay more attention to light, contrast, texture, and composition. And as such, it can help us improve our photography skills significantly. Still not convinced to give monochromatic images a try? These 25 outstanding black and white photography examples will surely make you fall in love with this technique.
Walking among giants
The incredible way in which Lin Na captured a sole figure standing in the mist among baobabs makes this one of the most beautiful landscape photos we’ve seen in a long time.
Don't forget to look up
Next time you are wandering around the streets of your city, raise your head towards the sky every so often. This shot by Ana is proof of the kind of views you’ve been missing out on all this time.
The world’s best submarine
Wildlife photography never ceases to amaze us. This amazing picture by Heidi Crundwell shows just how much elephants like water, and how they keep their trunks dry to breathe while they swim.
Is this the real life?
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Kary really did photograph someone levitating. This image is a perfect example of how black and white photography can be the perfect match for your creative photography ideas.
Modern stairway to heaven
Ismail Kassem put his unique imagination to work on urban photography to capture an image that will make you double check what you’re really looking at.
One of the keys of storytelling in photography is becoming part of the scene you’re capturing. This beautiful black and white photography example by Biagina shows just how important this is.
Eyes are the window to the soul
Travel photography is not just amazing landscapes and food. As Joachim Bergauer’s portrait demonstrates, native habitants can also be an incredible subject.
The limit does not exist
Next time someone casually mentions one of those popular photography myths that claims you cannot take good pictures with less than optimal weather, show them this shot by Martin Olson.
Hear me roar
This wildlife portrait captured by Stew Nolan is the perfect example of how black and white photography can make anything look epic - even a sleepy yawn.
One with nature
To shoot images as beautiful as Louise Whitehouse’s work, you’ll first need to master all essential photography composition rules.
The subtle art of people watching
When you think about black and white street portraiture, you probably imagine a low-key close-up, right? Toshihiro Yashiro’s portfolio shows that the possibilities of this genre are limitless.
Light in the shadows
Knowing how light works and affects your images is an absolute must. This image by Ivan Proskurin is the clear example of the impact that controlling light can have in portrait photography.
Mysteries and marvels of nature
This shot of Antelope Canyon taken by Mattia Bianco perfectly demonstrates how you don’t need color to capture the essence of one of the most beautiful places in America.
Twenty-first century society
By getting rid of all color distractions and focusing on light and contrast, Jan Daga was able to shoot a casual portrait that perfectly captures what society has become.
Simplicity is key
Understanding balance in photography will enable you to capture outstanding minimalist pictures, such as this black and white landscape photography example by Simone Cmoon.
Challenge your vision
Pet photography doesn’t just include dogs and cats. Underlook gives the genre a full 180-degree turn by capturing a broader range of animals from an unusual perspective.
The bright side of commuting
Catching a train is usually a pain in the neck. Crowds, delays, bad weather, overall exhaustion... The next time you find yourself in one of these situations, use some of your waiting time and follow Céline Marie’s steps to take the opportunity to put your photography skills into practice.
Love is all you need
Learning how to plan and execute a successful photoshoot will allow you to connect with your clients and capture images as beautiful and genuine as this moment forever frozen in time by Coco Gonser.
Compassion goes a long way
Photography is an incredibly powerful tool to raise awareness about welfare, environmental, and social issues. This heartbreaking shot by Christel Mitchell is the epitome of how an image is worth a thousand words.
It comes and goes in waves
One of the less-known, but still amazing capabilities of black and white photography is how well they complement different media forms. Julien Delaval used this photo as his photography website’s home page, and it perfectly shows the endless possibilities of combining photography and web design.
The vitruvian athlete
This incredibly beautiful portrait of an athlete captured by Tobias Purgand conveys of how black and white photography adds an artistic value to any genre, even sport photography.
Build bridges, not walls
Moody landscapes are one of the largest photography trends of 2019. The powerful look of Nelson Bolinhas’ perfectly timed shot might just convince you to give this editing technique a try.
Find your focus
The simplicity and masterful use of light of this beautiful nature photo taken by Nick Bartrum will leave you speechless.
You never know, dear, how much I love you
When searching for family portrait ideas, black and white photography might not even cross your mind. But a single look at this heartwarming image captured by Donatella Nicolini will most likely result in a change of heart for you.
Harald Wittig’s use of black and white in this urban scene, paired with the lack of people and movement, feels like a breath of fresh air in a time where everyone seems to be running from one place to another.
Ready to give black and white images a try? Create a photography website and share the results with the world!