Black and white photography has a timeless appeal that never goes out of style. This type of photography, also known as monochromatic photography, works especially well for images that have a story to tell. There’s something about black and white images that gives the viewer more emotional impact.
By reducing an image to its essential elements - light, contours, textures - photographers take on the challenge of looking more closely into their subject to understand what makes it special and worth preserving in a photograph. There’s much more to black and white photography than simply applying a filter to colored images. This complexity is what gives photographers the freedom to explore the medium.
However, it can be hard to come up with fresh concepts for your black and white photos. With so many photographers producing black and white photos, how do you create something original? We’re here to give you ideas for black and white photography using a camera trigger that can get your creative juices flowing and spark your imagination - plus give you a couple of useful tips and techniques to carry out your ideas.
Black and White Photography Ideas that Should Inspire You
Use these inspirational ideas to make your black and white photography totally unique.
Create Stunning and Unusual Portraits.
It’s no secret that black and white photography is one of the top choices for photographers working in portraiture. After all, it’s one of the most accessible types of photography, with a greater degree of flexibility in terms of setting, timing, lighting, and other factors that make some types of photography more difficult to plan and execute.
Portraiture is one of the best ways to get started with black and white photography. Even as a beginner, you can create black and white portraits that stand out, using a camera trigger.
Self-Portraits Are a Breeze With a Camera Trigger
Self-portraits are a great way to express your individuality and have fun, while also learning new techniques. There’s just one problem: getting all your camera settings right, even though the subject is behind the lens! Then there’s the issue of timing. If you use a timer for self-portraits, you’ve probably experienced having to wait too long for the shutter to click, or missing the shot altogether.
Fortunately, a camera trigger will eliminate these problems, making sure that you look relaxed and radiant in a perfectly focused shot. The MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger fits in your palm so that you can release the shutter from a distance, whenever you’re ready.
The Smart+ High Dynamic Range (HDR) control can also set up the HDR for you, taking a series of photos with automatically adjusted exposures that you can use to create an image with a rich range of highlights and shadows. This creates striking contrast in your photos, which is an essential feature of successful black and white photography.
Add Dynamic Elements to Portraits With a Camera Trigger
You can liven up the standard stationary shots of portraiture by using dynamic composition. Put simply, you’ll be adding elements in motion to the frame. These will give your subject a feeling of energy and movement, and make them seem more lifelike even in the absence of color.
Your dynamic element can be your subject itself in motion, as they transition from different poses, or create flowing details with clothing and creative props. You can also utilize natural elements such as water and wind; or you can add a burst of texture with artificial elements such as smoke and chalk.
One characteristic of dynamic elements is unpredictability. While this is what makes them captivating, it also makes them more difficult to photograph. A device with sound trigger and laser trigger modes like the MIOPS Smart+ trigger can be programmed to release your camera’s shutter at exactly the right moment - for example, when a smoke bomb activates the sound sensor, or your subject enters the focus area and breaks the laser beam.
Take the Challenge of Black and White Landscape Photography.
Landscape photography is a great opportunity to train your eye to see lines, textures, highlights, and shadows in a scene. Many images that look stunning in color would look flat and monotone without the intense contrast that you need in a black and white image.
This is where a camera trigger with a timelapse feature can help. The Smart+ can be programmed to take a series of photos at different times of the day, so that you can create a composite image with every element you want in sharp focus.
As an added bonus, the Smart+ has a Lightning mode that automatically releases your camera’s shutter when a lightning bolt streaks across the sky - a feat that’s extremely difficult even for someone with the fastest reflexes! The razor-sharp white of a lightning bolt against the rich, deep black of the night sky makes a truly stunning image.
Document the Secret Life of Animals.
Animals are one of the most delightful subjects for photography. Whether it’s an adorable puppy or a wild lion, capturing images of animals in black and white will draw attention to their distinct features, such as the fierce gaze of a predator, or the playful pose of a pet.
The diverse shapes, sizes and textures of animal forms are highlighted in black and white photography. A well-composed and highly focused black and white image can reveal unexpected aspects of familiar animals to the viewer.
For example, photographers commonly rely on a hummingbird’s colorful plumage to create a captivating image. On the other hand, working in black and white photography challenges you to pay closer attention to your subject and use light and shadow to portray the essence of an animal. High-speed photography using the Smart+ motion sensor through its Laser Mode will help you create a detailed, finely contrasted black and white image that shows how a hummingbird can dazzle even without color.
Animal photography, especially wildlife photography, is a relatively uncommon skill because animals are almost completely unpredictable. Pets generally can’t be posed for photos, and most wild animals can sense humans from a distance and avoid getting near enough for a photo.
Fortunately, a camera trigger can capture images for you without the need to wait inside a blind for hours to get the perfect shot. More importantly, having a camera trigger means that you don’t have to put yourself within biting distance when you’re photographing dangerous animals!
The Smart+ laser trigger will sense the movement of an animal and capture an image in milliseconds - fast enough to freeze a breathtaking photo of an animal in motion.
Capture Amazing Action Shots.
With so many black and white photos taken of stationary subjects, capturing motion in life is a surefire way to make your photos stand out. Since black and white photography is all about emotion and drama, try to seek out scenes that portray the vitality of life in all of its moods and moments.
Record Real Moments With Street Photography.
Street photography is another great way to venture out of your comfort zone, by taking photos of subjects that are spontaneous and independent of your direction. This opens up the possibility of encountering an event that is completely unexpected.
Try to spend some time getting to know the area and discovering the best backdrops for your photos. Pay close attention to the elements of the cityscape, such as the architectural features around you. You can experiment with the lighting, shadows, and geometric shapes that are created by buildings, and even use them as the main focus of your street photography.
Capturing your subject in black and white allows the viewer’s eye to focus on them without much of the visual clutter in a colorful street. Remember that black and white photography works best for images with high contrast, and not every scene will translate well into black and white.
Use the laser trigger on the Smart+ to automatically take photos of fast-moving subjects. You’ll also be able to experiment with different angles by placing your camera on a low tripod or a higher level.
As you’re monitoring the image through the tilt screen, you can release the shutter remotely when an interesting subject comes into frame. This way, you’ll be able to stay in place and let your subjects come to you. You can blend into the scene and be less intrusive, ensuring that your photo can be as candid as possible, and you'll be able to capture the reality of everyday life in the setting.
Capture Winning Images in Sports.
Sports photography is one of the most thrilling types of photography, and many of the best shots are taken with a high shutter speed to freeze the action. A camera trigger takes the stress out of anticipating the most dramatic moments.
Learn as much as you can about the sport you’re photographing, and use autofocus to follow the action. You can use the sound trigger on the Smart+ to release the shutter at decisive moments, such as the starting pistol going off during a race, the clash of fencing swords, or the buzzing of a boxing interval timer.
Reveal Everyday Objects in a New Light.
Although images of unfamiliar subjects can be captivating, a creative image of a familiar subject can give the viewer a new perspective that is just as fascinating. Everyday objects or scenes such as flowers, water drops, and buildings can take on a whole new appeal when photographed with an inventive technique.
A. Take Time-lapse Photos of Flowers
With time-lapse photography, you can speed up nature’s slow and steady magic. Time-lapse photos reveal the beauty of processes that we can’t see with the naked eye, and gives us a new way of perceiving the world around us. Blossoming flowers are a particular favorite among time-lapse photographers and viewers, along with other botanical subjects which can be easily photographed indoors.
Time-lapse photography has become popular over the years, with many creators discovering this highly engaging technique. You don’t need a top-end camera to try time-lapse photography. Also, if you have a Smart+ camera trigger, you won’t need a separate intervalometer. In addition to several unique triggering modes, the Smart+ features an intervalometer function for time-lapse photography.
B. Make a Splash with Water Photography
On the other end of the spectrum of movement is water, whose liquid sculptures are instantaneous. No two water drops or splashes are ever alike, which makes each water photograph unique. Use a tripod and a high shutter speed to keep your photos sharp. It is crucial to set the lighting for water photography in black and white, since you won’t be able to use colored liquids for contrast.
You’ll find, however, that timing is the most difficult part of water photography. The Smart+ laser trigger will take the stress out of timing your shot. The Smart+ can be programmed to set off your camera’s shutter when the water splash breaks the laser beam. The Smart+ can also connect to multiple flashes, which you will need to balance your lighting.
Should I shoot in color and convert to black and white?
This question may have come up in your mind. Should you take your photos in color first, then convert them to black and white later? Or should you shoot in monochrome mode to begin with? Fortunately, this isn’t a problem at all, because shooting in RAW format will retain your image’s color information even if you’re shooting in monochrome mode.
This means that you’ll be able to see your image in black and white while shooting, which will help you adjust your settings to get the right exposure - and, more importantly, help you figure out right away if your subject works well in black and white. You’ll also be able to view your RAW files in color during post-processing, if you wish.
Take impossible photos by turning your camera into a high-speed capture device!
Are you ready to start taking amazing black and white photos?
These inspirational black and white photography ideas with a camera trigger are just a small number of the possibilities offered by this subgenre. Black and white photography can seem deceptively easy. As you’ve learned, it’s not as simple as taking photos in color and converting them to black and white.
The process of learning to see the world in black and white, and to know how to capture images in a compelling way without color, is an illuminating challenge for every photographer.
While you’re exploring your subjects and experimenting with light, shadow, and composition, you can feel confident with a powerful and versatile tool at your disposal.
With the MIOPS Smart+, with its laser trigger and sound trigger features, as well as its other innovative modes for any type of photography, you can do anything!
Blog Credit: Charm Villalon
Charm is a writer and a visual artist. Her drive to share ideas and stories is evident in her background in communication arts and language studies. Years of professional experience in content creation have given her a broad proficiency with the process of engaging online communities. An appreciation for multiple languages and cultures drives her to seek out experiences and capture these moments through her writing, digital art, and photography.