Black and white photography – a definition

Black and white photography definition

Black and White Photography
Black and white photography is the means of recording the level of brightness (luminosity levels) of an object(s) on a scale from pure black to a pure white, without registering or recording the colour values.

With black and white photography the scene, or picture, will be represented by a number of shades of grey. The greater the number of shades, between pure black and pure white, that can be recorded will effect the detail recorded and hence the quality of a picture.

A variety of methods are available to use black and white photography. These vary from taking a color photo and then discarding the color values leaving the brightness values, through to using a recording device that doesn’t recognise the color values of a scene at the time of capture and will only register the brightness values. Both extremes can be a digital capture or an analogue capture.

In our mini-series of definitions, we additionally have our definitions of:
Analogue photography;
Silver gelatin print;
Photographic film.

Would you agree with any of our definitions? Go on, have a read to see if our definitions are wide of the mark or do make sense to you!


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