Sydney McCool - Black and White Creative

Black and white photography. It’s an artform of photography that many people take for granted. Using tones of gray, ranging from white to dark, black and white photography allows the artist to create imagery that sparks emotion and imagination. Ansel Adams said it best when talking about the differences between color, and black and white photography.


“I can get a far greater sense of ‘color’ through a well-planned and executed black and white image than I ever achieved with color photography.”


Planning for black and white photography is different than planning for shooting in color. A few important elements to consider when shooting black and white are shadows, contrast, tones (which is a cornerstone of black and white photography), shapes, texture, composition and perhaps most important, emotion.


For this shoot with Sydney, we started with as little color as possible. Both her outfits were white and black, aside from red in one of her pants. The super sweet Corvette was black and white, with touches of red on the brake pads. The abandoned garage that I found was mostly graffitied in black and white. Even the second location downtown on the top level of a garage, was a lot of muted shades of gray. We played with shadows and contrast, and most importantly, a wide range of tones, also known as high-key and low-key. We had lots of shapes and textures to work with that allowed us to get creative with composition. And finally, emotion… emotion was the easy part for Syd! She nailed every shot with a lot of different feels and looks.


Black and white photography. Condensing an image or story down to its simplest meaning and stripping away all the distractions and unnecessary noise. It’s where it all started after all. And sometimes it’s nice to get back to basics.


(Of course, you won’t see any red in these photos of Sydney. I mean hey, they’re black and white after all! 😉)



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