10 Things You May Not Know About Black and White Photography


I've been shooting black and white film more and more recently. Here are some of things I've learnt since shooting in black and white.

1. Black and white photography is cheap. Black and white (B&W) film is cheaper than colour. You can often find it reduced in price.

Credits: bsmart

2. Developing B&W film in a lab usually costs a bit more than C-41 colour. However, it’s easy to develop B&W film yourself at home. The cost for developing a roll yourself works out at about £1 (USD 1.50 / EUR 1.20) a roll.

Credits: bsmart

3. If you decide to develop your own B&W film you can keep the developing fluid after use and reclaim the silver which is left over from the developing process. You’ll have to do lots of developing to get any significant quantities of silver, though!

Credits: bsmart

4. Developing your own B&W film requires the following equipment: changing bag, bottle opening, scissors, developing tank and reel, developing fluid, stop bath, fixer, water.

Credits: bsmart

5. It doesn’t really matter if it’s an overcast day when shooting B&W. Clouds are white, so is your film.

Credits: bsmart

6. Printing B&W film is also pretty easy. It’s a great feeling being in charge of the whole photographic process from shooting and developing through to printing.

Credits: bsmart

7. It’s possible to use different colour filters (yellow, orange, and red) to change the tones of the photo. Using filters darken the sky and make clouds look more defined.

Credits: bsmart

8. Because B&W film is cheaper to buy and develop it’s a lot more affordable to try new techniques and experiment.

Credits: bsmart

9. B&W film takes great portraits.

Credits: bsmart

10. Black and White film rocks!

written by bsmart on 2012-05-07 in #gear #tipster #white #b-w #ten #requested-post #monochrome #lomography #black #develop #cheap #filter #film #portrait #print #tips #self #tipster #10 #cost #black-and-white


  1. hxloon
    hxloon ·

    All hail to B&W

  2. lakandula
    lakandula ·

    Great tribute to the black and white film! Easy read with lots of awesome shots.

  3. roby
    roby ·

    great article :-)

  4. roby
    roby ·

    oh, and very nice photos! :-)

  5. slumbrnghok
    slumbrnghok ·

    Awesome article :)

  6. chib3h
    chib3h ·

    Too bad black & developing prices and film prices are expensive here... :(

  7. dreadlockboy
    dreadlockboy ·

    yes...i love BW :)

  8. chilledvondub
    chilledvondub ·

    you failed to mention B&W chemicals stink though :P especially Ilfostop its like mouldy vinegar

  9. medeaviii
    medeaviii ·

    what camera was used for these photos? they are very clear and your focus is amazing,...
    the tunnel photo is my favorite

  10. bsmart
    bsmart ·

    All sorts of cameras. The tunnel was taken with a Trip 35. The first and 3rd was a bronica etrs. The second and a few others were with a Pentax me. There's a pinhole shot in there and a holga shot too.

  11. annetsueshalle
    annetsueshalle ·

    i just got my first roll of BW photos! www.lomography.com/homes/annetsueshalle/albums/1842201-we-a…

  12. 134340
    134340 ·


  13. brandkow93
    brandkow93 ·

    great article, i have been saving up my saturated fixer, and im going to borrow equipment for my college and leech out the silver. what camera did you use for the photos?

  14. jeffr
    jeffr ·

    really great article! i hope to develop my own b&w film soon

  15. freckleface
    freckleface ·

    b&w developing truly is the best! Now I just have to figure out the best way to get my prints on here... lol.

  16. bsmart
    bsmart ·

    @freckleface Just scan then and post them up. That's what I've done: www.lomography.com/homes/bsmart/albums/1814962-darkroom-pri…

  17. adash
    adash ·

    £1 (USD 1.50 / EUR 1.20) a roll? What are you using, man? A 500ml bottle of Rodinal will last 100 films and will keep for years, and a kilo of thiosulphate is $5 at your local chemistry supplier. That translates to less than 20p per roll, developed, fixed, dried and ready for scanning.
    BTW, silver stays in the fixer and not in the developer. Well, some may stay in it too, depending on the formula, but generally fixing really removes all undeveloped silver from the emulsion.

  18. adash
    adash ·

    I would however like to know how you keep your negatives so clean. Is it the tap water, or is it the air in my bathroom, but it always has specks and tiny fibers.

  19. alix-mansell
    alix-mansell ·

    Two days ago I ordered 9 rolls of Earl Grey. Yesterday I discovered you cannot use C41 on it. Will someone please tell me what I need to buy (on a budget)? Thanks!

  20. bsmart
    bsmart ·

    @alix-mansell Have you managed to develop your film already?

  21. alix-mansell
    alix-mansell ·

    @bsmart No, not yet but I plan to speak to someone when I have a few rolls under my belt! This is what I'm considering: www.thedarkroom.co.uk/traditional/black-and-white/chemicals… - Just down the road from me :)

  22. bsmart
    bsmart ·

    @alix-mansell You'll also need a changing bag, developing tank, thermometer. You should be able to pick these up pretty cheap on ebay. It looks quite daunting - but is actually pretty easy.

  23. alix-mansell
    alix-mansell ·

    Thanks @bsmart I have those for C-41, now I just need to upgrade to B&W

  24. druid
    druid ·

    appreciate this very much - thanks man!

  25. she_likes_hair_bands
    she_likes_hair_bands ·

    Never get tired of B&W people photos!

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