Why Is Photographing Subjects in Monochrome So Appealing - And what exactly is monochrome photography?

Most of us think of monochrome when pictures are shot in black and white mode, but this is only one variant of this theme!

Pushkar Mela, Rajasthan - India. Picture by Runa Lindberg
Play with the natural light

Monochrome photography is a type of photography where every position on a specific image can show and record a different amount of light, but not a different hue. It is inclusive of all forms of black and white photography that produce imagery that contains tones that range from black to white and everything in between.

Brown, Cyan, and Sepia can also be used in this type of photography too. It is widely used for certain technical imaging application and for artistic purposes as well.

Pushkar Mela, Rajasthan - India. Picture by Runa Lindberg
Learn to think outside the box!

What do we use monochrome photography?

Shooting monochrome can help us learn to see motives differently!

Once we change the colors or perspective towards the subject(s), our brain starts to "think outside the box," and it gives us new impressions, ideas, and a whole different sense of aesthetics.

Try it out for yourself; the results may surprise you!

When is best to use monochrome photography?

The monochrome representation is possible in almost all areas, including street, architecture, landscape, or portraits. It is your choice, and down to you and your sense of creativity!

Monochrome photography will never go out of style! Here are a few tips!

Shooting with high contrast in the B&W preview mode

Most DLSR’s will enable you to shoot in RAW jpeg. So, if you set the jpeg to monochrome, you will instantly be able to see the image in B&W. It will also allow you to have complete editing control over the RAW image in the Lightroom.

Pushkar Mela, Rajasthan - India. Picture by Runa Lindberg
Isolate your subject

Isolating the subject

If you want to make monochrome photography work for you, you can use the natural light in order to isolate your subject. If you have a dark or underexposed background, this is a great way to do this. This will ensure the subject is well-lit and the background becomes almost pitch-black. This can really help you to create a dramatic photograph that immediately draws attention to the subject.

Pushkar Mela, Rajasthan - India. Picture by Runa Lindberg
Create silhouettes (rim-light)

Silhouettes (rim-light)

Probably one of the greatest things you can shoot in monochrome is Silhouettes. The best way to do this is to look out for a strong light source in which to place your subject against. Expose for the background and underexpose the subject for the most dramatic effects.

Long Exposures

Another dramatic-adding effect top for monochrome photography is to convert long exposure landscapes into B&W.

Pushkar Mela, Rajasthan - India. Picture by Runa Lindberg
Be aware of your shooting environment.

Always Be Aware of your Shooting Environment

Look for places to take your photographs that have lots of naturally dramatic light, forms, reflections, textures, and shapes. When shot in monochrome, all of these features are accentuated.

The pictures in this article are entirely "out of camera" and not post-processed. All of them are shot in the "Thar Desert" during sunset at around 5-7PM. I used a Nikon full frame body and set the white balance manually.