London Black and White Photos - Trafalgar Square Lion & Big Ben

I’ve always felt cityscapes lend themselves well to the black and white treatment. Since London was my home city until 2016 I had the opportunity often to photograph its mix of old and new buildings. I hope you enjoy looking at some of my London black and white photos.

London Black and White Photos – Fine Art Photography?

There is something about black and white photography that just gives images that fine art feel. Generally I have found I get a look that I like in post processing by using the free Nik Silver Efex Pro. I say free because it was once Google bought it. However they stopped developing it. It seems Google bought Nik’s parent company Nik Software mainly for their mobile editing application Snapseed. The Nik collection of filters were essentially ignored. At the time of writing DXO bought the Nik Collection and they are now keeping it updated and adding to it. It’s no longer free however. I’m not sure how easy it is to still find the old free version online but if you are interested in the current version please visit the link below:

Nik Silver Efex Pro

When using this software I generally liked the Full Contrast & Structure filter though I also used a couple of the other options that would give a stark, gritty feel. Anyway enough talk, I will show you some more examples.

Big Ben London
Big Ben London
Ornamental fish lamp post on South Bank
Ornamental fish lamp post on South Bank

London Black and White Photography – Some Tips

Depending on your photographic style, cityscapes in London can be difficult. Personally I don’t really want to feature people in my black and white cityscapes which is not easy in such a populated city. I find the Nik filters I like to use really don’t work on human skin tones at all! I like to make use of shallow depth of field, especially when the out of focus object is something so iconic it can still be recognised. I’ve used mirrorless cameras for a few years now and being able to see the depth of field in real time through the electronic viewfinder is really helpful to me.

View from Westminster Bridge
View from Westminster Bridge

As many of these examples probably illustrate I like simple, unfussy compositions. I like to play with different focal lengths to obtain a view that the human eye does not see. I might be compressing the perceived distance between objects by using a telephoto or exaggerating the distance between objects by using a wide angle. The image below of Tower Bridge is a good example of a wide angle treatment.

Tower Bridge London
Tower Bridge

All of the images were taken some years ago. In truth I feel they were over-processed. When using a new software it’s easy to go overboard initially until you tone the effect down and find something that works for you. I did much the same thing when I first tried HDR photography!