Black & White Mobile Photography
These days, when you hear the phrase “mobile photography”—especially in its iPhone-centric incarnation, “iPhoneography”—the first things that come to mind are retro filters and faux vintage processing. The results are generally tasteful, but are not infrequently reminiscent of a collaboration between a photographer with a mold-infested camera and a darkroom artist who’s inhaled too many chemical fumes. Needless to say, the tendency to over-process shots for the sake of artificial nostalgia can certainly go out of hand.
My mobile photography arsenal reached a tipping point where I had three pages of photography and processing apps. Realizing the absurdity of this situation, I decided to keep things simple and more about shooting photos than processing them. It certainly helped that at this point my Instagram gallery was starting to look garish as a result of inconsistent and sometimes poorly thought out processing choices. So I decided to shoot my mobile photos exclusively in high-contrast black & white.
It’s a liberating experience, to say the least. Without the distraction of color, I found that I could concentrate solely on form and contrast. What’s more, without relying on the crutches of mobile photography—retro colors and texture—I was forced to concentrate on composition and conveying mood and meaning. The ability to punch up the contrast of even the most dreary of scenes and a unified-looking image gallery are icing on the cake.
If you’re stuck in a rut with your mobile photography, or have had it with filters ad nauseam, I highly recommend shooting exclusively in black and white for at least a week. It’s guaranteed to do wonders for your shooting.