Cars & Trucks in Black & White

by | Jan 28, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

My friend Barry Staver periodically sends out marketing mailings to clients and potential clients and recently, to get their attention, the postcard featured black and white photographs. Back in the film days when Mary and I owned a studio, the first question we asked a client was if they needed black and white or color photography because the price of B&W film and processing was different than color and we billed them on a time and materials basis.

Back then, clients often wanted black and white images because they would be used in print, either a magazine or other publication and B&W was cheaper. Nowadays a commercial assignment is more often going to need images that will be featured in social media or on a client’s website so color is the order of the day but today’s DSLRs or mirrorless cameras can easily shoot color or color and black & white using my old favorite RAW+JPEG approach.

Tip: To illuminate the underneath of this Not-a-Monster truck above, I held the camera upside down, popped up the built-in flash and shot. This aims the flash underneath the vehicle allowing it to illuminate the cars underside. I use this technique all the time, especially at car shows, with vehicles that have chromed or highly detailed undercarriages.

Nowadays, creating black and white or monochrome images is a creative choice and not one that’s only being driven by a financial imperative. So all of a sudden you have options: My friend, Cliff Lawson, one of the best high school senior photographers in the Rocky Mountain West, often presents black and white portrait images to his clients, the student’s parents, and their response is almost universally positive because the image is different.

You can think different too and the next time you make a photograph, whether it’s a portrait or a  picture of a car, try processing your color JPEG or RAW file using any of the many black and white conversion tools that are available, such as Silver Efex Pro that I used for the above images.




My book Creative Digital Monochrome Effects is currently out-of-print but is available from Amazon with new copies selling for less than four bucks, as I write this. That’s cheaper than a Starbucks latte, so get’em while you can.