A Celebration of Black & White Photography


Black and white photography is undoubtedly timeless. From portraiture to wildlife photography to documentary work, removing color presents photographers with a compositional challenge that requires a sharp focus on the subject.

This week we launched our latest guide, The 2019 Photographer’s Guide to Instagram Hashtags. To celebrate one of the many genres included in the guide, we caught up with PhotoShelter members Shannon Wild, David Aliaga, and Greg Funnell about their love for black and white, and who inspires them in the field.

Cover image by Shannon Wild

Shannon Wild

An Australian wildlife photographer and cinematographer based in Africa, Shannon Wild says that she’s really just a wildlife lover and conservationist at heart. Her Instagram has quite the following – over 213k followers – and over the last 15 years she’s worked with the likes of NatGeo Wild, WildAid, and the United Nations. Recently she was featured on Nikon’s On the Road and A Note From Planet Earth.

What made you shoot and/or edit these photos in B&W?

I always shoot RAW so my images start out in color, after which I decide whether to convert them to B&W if I feel they’ll be a stronger image that way.  This is especially true of images with lots of texture, that can really pop in B&W.

What do you love about B&W photography?

I love how dramatic it can be.  When I choose to convert to B&W I’m not going for a subtle gray conversion, I want strong contrast and texture.  I want a result that will wow the viewer.

Want to shoutout a photographer or two whose work in black and white inspires you?

I particularly like Laurent Baheux’s work.

Image by Shannon Wild

David Aliaga

Originally from Valencia, Spain, David Aliaga primarily covers major international sporting events like the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. He’s worked as a creative director, TV sports reporter, video editor, photographer, and writer for many websites and printed press, also adding CEO to his CV recently as well.

Image by David Aliaga

What made you shoot and/or edit these photos in B&W?

I wanted to remove all the coloured information inside to focus the attention on the player, Paul Pogba of Manchester United, and the background flood lights lighting him.

What do you love about B&W photography?

I love the choices and freedom it gives you to focus on what you want to tell with the picture itself.

Want to shoutout a photographer or two whose work in black and white inspires you?

I mainly follow sports photographers on a daily basis – Al Bello, Bob Martin to name a couple of them – and I love when they use the B&W edit, because I know they are making the most about the message inside the picture by using this technique.

Image by David Aliaga

Greg Funnell

Working globally for a roster of international publications and clients like Vanity Fair, Men’s Health, and Save the Children, London-based editorial and advertising photographer Greg Funnell has seemingly done it all. He’s spent the last 10 years shooting everything from commissioned celebrity portraits, travel assignments, in-depth documentary features, and development work in the field for NGOs.

Image by Greg Funnell

On his love of black and white photography:

I love shooting in black and white and find I am often seeing pictures in monochrome before I take them. For me it distills the elements of an image down to purely composition and subject. Colour has such a big effect on the mood and feeling of an image, and sometimes that is great if used well, however often I feel it can detract from things. Equally, I feel it can sometimes save a mediocre picture – with black and white things are paired back to the bare bones. To be honest I see colour photography and black and white photography as two very different mediums, like comparing an oil painting to charcoal rendering. I grew up absorbing the work of the great photojournalism masters of the last half of the twentieth century.

My first foray into photography involved the dark room and black and white printing – it’s baked into the very origins of my journey into this vocation.

Don’t get me wrong – I love colour photography for all its challenges and additional nuances, but the purist in me will always hold a special place for black and white photography.

Image by Greg Funnell

Want to see more? Head over to our Instagram for a full week of posts dedicated to bold black and white photos, and share some of your own with us!


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