Tips for taking black and white photos with your phone

WASHINGTON – In a world where everyone is taking and sharing smartphone photos, black and white images often stand out for their starkness, contrast and classic look.

Local photographer Cedric Terrell says good black and white photographs often have similar attributes.

“Black and white photography is all about the contrast, it’s all about the lighting,” says Terrell in a WTOP interview.

The combination of black, white and a range of shades of gray is often evocative of days before color film became popular, and eventually the norm.

“Photography, of course, started off with black and white, so when people see black and white photos, it takes them back,” says Terrell.

Choosing to shoot or process photos in black and white imparts a special quality, according to Terrell.

“It adds something, some age to it, and a little uniqueness, instead of just another color photo which we’re so used to these days.”

Unlike days when film photographer had to choose between black and white and color film, digital techology allows a person to dramatically alter an image long after it was snapped.

“Just because you take a photo in color doesn’t mean you can’t do different treatments to it later on,” says Terrell.

The most popular smartphone photography apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic offer a variety of black and white looks that can be applied to photos taken.

Other social networking apps including Facebook and Twitter offer a chance to convert color photos to b&w before posting.

Ironically, Terrell believes photos containing vivid colors like autumn leaves or a still life of fruit often benefit from having the color stripped away.

“You pull out the veins in the leaves, and you pull out the texture and little details that sort of pop a little more when you start playing around with that contrast,” says Terrell.

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