Set The Mood – Black and White Photography

After the last few posts of fall colors, I’m doing a 180 with something I’ve talked about before and wanted to revisit with a couple of great examples in “setting the mood” with black and white photography.

I’ve attached a shot I call “Farm Water Pump”. The subject matter of the pump is not the first thing you see, but does pull your eye into the photo of an old fashion water pump on a farm just in front of some stables. The lack of color sets a subdued mood that works well with this type of composition.

I have also attached a shot I call ” Heritage Hill Mansion in Black and White”. The subject matter in this particular shot fills the field of vision with old Victorian architecture. Seeing this same shot in color focuses the eye on the intricacies of the architecture like a ginger bread house. By presenting this same composition in black and white, the visual mood created is an almost “haunting” look to this structure.

Not everyone is a fan of black and white photography, but don’t discount it in presenting certain types of compositions as it does create a mood. Thoughts?

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31 thoughts on “Set The Mood – Black and White Photography

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      I thought it really created a “haunted” look to this beautiful victorian…in reality it is a beautiful colorful example of Victorian architecture…thanks for stopping by Dan!

  1. Darlene

    Although I’m a huge fan of bright and lively colours, I think old farm buildings look so much more effective in black and white and add spookiness to a Victorian mansion.

  2. Teagan R. Geneviene

    I hadn’t thought about black and white making a place look haunted — but you sure proved your point with the big old house, Kirt. I’m sure it’s a glorious old home in the “daylight” of color. How fun. Hugs on the wing.

  3. Diane Henders

    It definitely creates a mood, especially with the mansion. You don’t know whether you’re looking at a new photo of an old house, or an old photo of a new house… ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Good point…
      I did a series of prints for a client of tropical sunsets with palm trees in the forefront…instinct tells you that the color, etc will be great….client requested them in black and white…seems contrary to the subject matter, but the office complex they were going into had all B&W shots of San Diego that I had also done for them. Believe it or not the B&W tropical sunsets looked great in that environment. Point being B&W does change the presentation but it really can work with just about any subject matter. Thanks for stopping by Diane!

  4. gillmorris

    I’m a big fan of B&W. As you say, you can see the details of the architecture. It does have a haunted house look! In the farm water pump photo, I saw the post and the door first, then the bench, then the pump. It’s interesting how we are all drawn to different things ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      My eyes did the same thing and yet I titled it around the pump. I am fascinated with manual water pumps and you still see some on older farms. Thanks for the feedback, Gill and for stopping by!

  5. Sue Slaght

    I agree it definitely creates a mood and over time you and others have helped me see that black and white brings out the details in many photos. It seems this old dog can learn to appreciate new tricks.


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