This Is Why Black And White Photos Are Beautiful

Have you ever wondered why black and white photos are beautiful? Many people have been continuously drawn to photographing the world in a monochromatic way, or in simpler words, in black and white. That is nice, but only a handful of people know why exactly they are so allured to black and white imagery. 

Today we want to talk about the main reasons why black and white photos are beautiful and why you should try black and white photography, no matter your image format ( digital cameras, or phones). Knowing the reasons why decisions are being made will guide you into becoming a better and more solid photographer.

It is a Distortion of Reality

Photography was born with the heavy-weight “sin” of being a synonym of reality. When color photography appeared this was even more obvious. Black and white offers us a distorted version of the real world, making it immediately more interesting for creative purposes. When used properly it can become so powerful that can even deliver some deep aesthetic experiences depending on the viewer’s mind.

Distractions get Reduced

Just a very few amount of photographs happen under extremely controlled situations. Plenty of the photos that we captured on a regular basis are highly quotidian, and can have a poorly balanced color palette. This can seem like a minor detail, but when contrasted with a black and white version, everything tends to pop right in front of our eyes. Black and white conversions eliminate all the distractions that color present to our mind, and helps in delivering the message into a much more powerful way.

It has a Timeless Quality

It is easier for our human eyes and mind to spot a particular epoch or moment in time thanks to color, especially when watching film photos. Nowadays there are many filters, presets and formulas that emulate this color quality, but everything feels odd due to the elements in the frame, time can’t be hacked. If you see black and white photos, it is even harder to spot a moment in time with it, hence the fact that monochrome aids into making a photograph feel more timeless.

Contrast can be Pushed Further

For some mysterious reasons scoping beyond our comprehension Black and white photographs can be pushed further when it comes to contrast than color. We can guess that contrast in color has an extremely notorious impact in saturation, making things appear funnier way earlier than in black and white. Noise can even look more appealing when an image is transformed into black and white because all those greenish-purple color blobs disappear, leaving just the noisy-grainy texture but in a monochrome format.

This last one is a side effect of a decently prolonged discipline of practice regarding black and white photographs. Thanks to consuming and creating monochrome images, our eye starts developing a visual skill that aids into watching the world better. This doesn’t mean that you will see in black and white, which is just a lie that many photographers say. You do however learn to see much better.

When shooting in black and white, we start paying more attention to textures, lights, shadows, forms, shapes, volumes, lines and pretty much all the building blocks of bi-dimensional visual composition. And the reason why this happens is because we can see further away when reducing the distractions that color can play upon us.

Don’t get us wrong, we don’t have hard feelings for color, we are only letting you know that for some situations, black and white can be way more effective for telling a story than color. And the simple reason why is due to a more effective way of communicating aesthetic experiences.

A Brief yet Important Consideration

Black and white nowadays is a matter of choice after the shot has been made. Many cameras and some phones are capable of shooting with the wonderful raw format, giving us a rich file that preserves all the information our highly-paid image sensor is capable of recording. We take photographs, and then we decide if it should be black and white or a color image. Back in the days of film this decision was made prior to clicking the shutter button. It is important that you practice not only in taking the photos but also in developing these too.

We hope that this brief lecture has the power of inspiring you to shoot more black and white images. And beyond that, we are sure that you now know better.

Federico Alegría



The best camera is the camera you have with you. Do you like to take pictures but don't always want to carry a camera bag? Then this blog is for you. Come on a journey to explore the possibilities and challenges of taking beautiful pictures with your smartphone.

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