Black and White Photography Courses

The first thing that we should say about this photography format is that it's traditional. It's the type with the most history. If you go back a long way in the history of photography you will find that early photographers capture images on glass plates and other media, usually in shades of gray and in brown tones.

For this reason, black and white photography courses have a solid foundation to build on when it comes to science and technique. But because colour-film photography and digital imaging has taken over the industry you may have to search a bit to find the black and white photography courses you want and need.

What should you expect when you enroll in this special part of the field? What will you get at the best photography courses in black and white (B&W)? Here are a few of the key words that are used to describe these programs:

  • creativity
  • practical
  • darkroom training

Courses will include how to get a vision of what your images will look like in black and white. You will learn how to establish your own darkroom so you can develop film and make your own prints.

You'll learn which chemicals are the best for the results you want and you'll find out about the costs and availability of black and white film.

Degree of Separation

One of the good descriptions about B&W photography we've heard is this: It gives the viewer a sense of separation that isn't there with the ultra-realism of colour photos and digital images.

The photographer doesn't have to use any strong creative techniques to achieve what Icon Photography School calls "sheer power, elegance and beauty."

Nice black and white portrait Black and white portrait

The people who develop and offer black and white courses in photography emphasize that this type of photography isn't simply photography without colour.

Three excellent home study courses...

Capturing and displaying images in black and white is a distinct technique, both science and art. You can learn more about this with a B&W course at New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) and in other excellent programs.

NYIP offers three different photography programs that you can study from home, at your own pace. The package program includes

"written materials, audio CDs, DVD video training and challenging photo projects."

Another fascinating opportunity comes with a trip to Colorado that uses digital equipment then helps the student convert those images to black and white in the correct way.

On the Continent

If you want good B&W photography courses in Europe you might try the European Academy of Fine Arts. This program can take you to Barcelona, Spain where you will not only learn to produce excellent B&W images you will enjoy the culture and history of a major city.

Field trips are scheduled both day and night, in urban settings and in rural settings. Film is developed by "on site professional film laboratories" to give the student an "individual form of expression."

Another excellent program is available in the U.K. at Nottingham Trent University. A three-year course in photography includes these first year features:

  • Fundamentals, contemporary and historical practice and theory

  • Comprehensive study of techniques, including black and white, colour, lighting, digital and medium format

  • Option for exchange trips to European countries

Other excellent programs on the continent include FAMU in the Czech Republic, Gobelins in France and The Darkroom in Italy. These tuition programs are considered by some to be among the best available no matter which format or technique you plan to pursue. But black and white photography courses at most of the well-known schools are sure to prepare you for the career you desire!

Black and white photo of the Alps, Europe Black and white photo of the Alps, Europe

Different Path

It's also possible to get valuable training in one of the short-term black and white photography courses offered. Some are based in the United States and include travel arrangements and training while others are based in Europe and require the student provide their own travel arrangements to the program site.

Prices vary considerably depending on location and length of program. This can be an excellent way to get an introduction to black and white photography courses without committing a lot of time and money to a full-time program.

No matter which path you take, black and white photography courses can provide exciting challenges in this fascinating industry.