Top five tips for making beautiful black and white photography

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Black and white photography continues to be a classic form of capturing a moment, and the ZenFone 3 Zoom is the perfect way to do it. By doing away with color, you can draw particular attention to shape, texture, and composition. To make the most out of your opportunities, here are some tips to take great black and white photos.

You can shoot natively in black and white with the ZenFone 3 Zoom by selecting Grayscale in the Effects camera mode.

Look for contrast

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It can be difficult to develop an eye for contrast that isn’t based on color. Just try not to get too attracted to something you might describe as vibrant. All of the strength of vibrant hues disappears in black and white photography, and depends entirely on the contrast of what’s around it.

For example, a light purple flower will be roughly the same shade of grey when cast against the sky. However, shifting perspective so that the soil at its base is a backdrop will provide a more distinctive contrast. This can be taken to an extreme by framing photos explicitly so nearly pure whites are cast against pure blacks.

In between, there are a lot of grays. Try to avoid single solid colors and err towards gradients. The gradual change in these surfaces will continue to show in black and white photos.

Focus on textures and patterns

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Our familiarity with most objects depends on colors, but by removing it in black and white photos, we can spend more time appreciating textures and patterns. These fine differences provide a new perspective, but you need to be looking for the right subjects. Even the most drably-colored subject, like, say, a sewer grate, has textures that range from dry and rusty to wet and slick, not to mention the pattern of the grille itself. In black and white photography, something as simple as this can provide a range of opportunities. Keep an eye out for these fine details in a subject, since they’ll really pop once the color is taken out.

Shoot in HDR

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Though the ZenFone 3 Zoom does have a dedicated black and white camera mode, you may want to consider shooting in HDR to start instead. These High Dynamic Range photos capture all of the details at different levels of exposure. Though this is important enough in color photography, it’s doubly important in black and white photography when you want to capture every subtlety, and not lose anything to either too much lightness or too much darkness. The HDR photo can always have the color removed later.

Aim to underexpose

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If you’re taking the care to shoot in manual mode with the ZenFone 3 Zoom, try to underexpose your photo a little. This can bring out key details in areas that would otherwise be washed out. Just tap the EV icon and swipe the slider up or down as needed. This may not be entirely practical in photos that are more dark than they are light,  but even then, a sufficiently light subject can stand out better in a darker background, and with lower exposure, finer details in a light subject will emerge.

Play with curves

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After you’ve taken the shot, open the picture on the ZenFone 3 Zoom and tap the magic wand icon in the bottom-right. This will open the native photo editor. From here, tap the +/- icon in the bottom-right, and swipe over until you can tap Curves. This provides a graph where you can change the tonality of some or all colors in the photo.

For example, you can bring down the reds if they’re overpowering, or crank up the greens to be more vibrant. This may seem redundant in a black and white photo, but playing with these values before removing color can bring up desired details while hiding others. Of course, the full RGB curve can be used on a black and white photo to make dramatic adjustments.

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Note that the photo editor also hosts the black and white filter which lets you fine tune an image one last time before removing the color. You can do that by simply picking the saturation adjustment and dropping it to zero.

The ZenFone 3 Zoom is the perfect way to experiment with black and white photography in whole new ways. Thanks to a wealth of editing apps available in the Android ecosystem and social apps for sharing your creations, you can become a great photographer in no time. Head over to the ZenFone 3 Zoom product page to learn more.

All photo samples shot on the ZenFone 3 Zoom.