The Difference between Monochrome Photography vs Black and White
The two terms ‘monochrome’ and ‘black and white’ have slightly different meanings. ‘Monochrome’ is the photographic term referring to the process of making photographs that consist of only a single colour. In contrast, ‘black and white’ refers to the results of this process, i.e. photographs that look black and white.
Although there is no difference in the chemical processes involved in creating monochrome and black and white images, the two techniques may produce slightly different results. The most obvious difference is the look of the final images. Monochrome photographs tend to be more dramatic than black and white, because the colour has been removed. They can often create the illusion of a’monochromatic’ scene, with its elements defined by shape, form, texture and colour. This may add depth to the image and make it appear more interesting. However, because the colour has been removed, monochrome photographs often lack the richness of colour that you find in real life scenes.
Monochrome photographs can have many uses, such as for fine art purposes. Because of the high contrast between light and dark areas of the photograph, they are often useful for highlighting important details, for example in architectural photographs. They are sometimes used to emphasise the shapes and form of objects in landscapes.
In black and white, the contrast between light and dark areas is much lower than in monochrome, so the colour range is less restricted. The result is a softer, more natural-looking photograph, with a wider range of colour.
Of course, you can create a monochrome photograph in a variety of different ways. Some photographers prefer to work in monochrome, while others shoot in black and white. Some photographers prefer using black and white to monochrome. For example, it can be easier to set a white background and use a large aperture (f/1.4) to freeze the motion of moving objects in black and white. Alternatively, you could have a bright coloured backdrop, use an aperture of f/2.8 to reduce the brightness of the background, and use a slow shutter speed (e.g. 1/125 sec) to freeze the movement of objects.
Both monochrome and black and white images can be captured with a digital camera. However, the look of the final image may vary depending on the settings you choose.
Monochrome images are usually black and white, though there are variations of the process. The monochrome image process is usually based on the idea that the three colours – red, green, and blue – are combined to form one colour, which is then printed onto paper, film, or other surfaces. Red and green are often referred to as the primaries, and are used because their complementary colour (blue) will produce cyan, a pale green colour.
Black and white can take many forms. In some cases, the image is printed using a special ink that produces two different colours – black and white. This process is known as duotone printing. Duotone images often have a lighter tone that makes up for the lack of colour, and is often combined with the darker areas of the image to create a three-dimensional effect.