Top tips for black & white film photography

Top tips for black & white film photography

With colour film still in short supply and high demand, more and more people are turning to black and white film to get their analogue photography fix. As well as being much more readily available at the moment, black and white film photography has a beautiful aesthetic that some photographers swear by.

We asked Dan Wheeler, photographer, darkroom printer, owner of Make it Easy and black and white advocate to give us his top tips for anyone getting in to shooting black and white for the first time. 


Dan Wheeler, Make It Easy, Take it Easy, Black and white photography


1. Learn to think in black and white when you make pictures

Think about the texture, tonality and quality of light and imagine how this will look as a black and white image. Try putting a red filter on your camera (if you have an SLR) this way when you look through the viewfinder you'll stop seeing the colours you expect to see in the scene plus it'll boost the contrast on your B&W images.


2. Get familiar with your chosen film stock

It's loads of fun when you're starting out to try out lots of different black and white film stock but once you find one you like and works for you, stick with it! You'll start to get familiar with how it renders the world and your pictures will get better and better. 

 Dan Wheeler, Make It Easy, Take it Easy, Black and white photography

3. Play with exposure and development

The ISO number on the film is only a suggestion and will give you an industry standard look. Experiment with pushing or pulling your film at different ISOs to work out what works best for you. Just remember to tell your lab technician when you drop it off for processing!


4. Make prints

Black and white hand prints are BEAUTIFUL objects! Either learn to make them yourself or get some made of your favourite images - there really is nothing like it. 

 Dan Wheeler, Make It Easy, Take it Easy, Black and white photography

5. Find a good lab your film or learn to do it yourself

This seems like shameless self promotion but it's important! Every roll of black and white film needs to be treated carefully by someone who knows what they're doing. Find a lab you trust and stick with them or get them to teach you how to do it yourself.