The 25 Most Beautiful Black-And-White Movies

Wings Of Desire, Beauty And The Beast, Embrace Of The Serpent, Dead Man, Seven Samurai, The Seventh Seal, The Passion Of Joan Of Arc …

We’ve all got our favorite black-and-white films. Any top 10 or 25 list will surely leave some of our favorites out and start a debate – that’s well worth having. Doing the hard work of picking our tops and supporting our choices helps us be clearer about what we most appreciate, inspiring ideas for how we might incorporate those qualities in our own images and be better able to celebrate it with others. Preparing for this task is a pure pleasure. Consider immersing yourself in the wonderful world of black and white with classic movies.

Here are 5 lists of the most beautiful black-and-white movies. Enjoy!

Taste Of Cinema – The 25 Most Visually Stunning Black-and-White Movies of All Time

List Challenges – The 25 Most Visually Stunning Black-And-White Movies of All Time

IMDB – Most Beautiful Black And White Films (Post 1965)

Listal – The Most Beautiful Black And White Films

New York Film Academy – The Best Black & White Films In Cinematography

What are your favorite black-and-white movies?
Leave your recommendations in the comments.

Find more Color Theory inspiration from the movies here.
Explore my Black & White resources here.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

How To Create The Best Color To Black And White Conversion Previews

The fully saturated image

light on dark pieces of paper - a combination that can only be made by localizing different conversions

dark on light pieces of paper - a combination that can only be made by localizing different conversions

To find the best color to black-and-white solution an image contains, it’s important to explore all of your options. One technique will quickly show you more options than any other – Photoshop’s dual adjustment layers (a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer below a Channel Mixer adjustment layer).

To preview all possibilities dynamically, move the Hue slider all the way to the left and all the way to the right.

But wait, there’s more.

As you’re previewing the many options available to you, remember you can localize the effects with masks. You can go beyond what you see in one mix by combining any of the tones you see in all of the mixes.

Few people can remember all of the possible combinations. So, save multiple copies with different settings and compare them. There’s nothing like seeing many options, side-by-side, to confirm you’re committing to the best solution.

You can read about this technique in more detail here.

The two solutions above can only be achieved by converting separate areas of the image differently using masks.

The solutions below show the different global conversions which can be combined.

Note no dodging and burning was used to create these solutions. Dodging and burning can’t produce these extreme effects, but it can be used to further enhance them.

Also, note this technique is not useful for semi-neutral images; an image has to have significant saturation in at least one color to benefit from this technique.


Insights Members can login to read the full article.
or Sign up

What You Need To Know To Master Black & White Photography

In this video, I share my unique insights into what’s special about black-and-white images. I show ways to visualize black-and-white possibilities and showcase 5 classic black-and-white styles. Along the way, I discuss the vital steps of making black-and-white images; color management, color conversions, tonal adjustment, and printing.

Black & White Mastery

Download your free copy now!


Explore the wonderful world of black-and-white, a special form of color.

Seeing In B&W
What’s unique about black-and-white, and how to best adjust and print it.

What’s Unique About B&W
Black-and-white is special in so many ways.

Expanding The Definition Of B&W
The term “black & white” is not as simple as you might think.

How Gray Is Gray ? 
Both context and personal preference make this a surprisingly challenging question.

Why You Need To Understand Color To Get The Best B&W Images
Color affects the exposure, processing, and printing of black-and-white images.

An Overview Of Color To B&W Conversions
My preferred workflow for color to black and white conversions.

Optimizing Files Before B&W Conversions (Coming Soon)
Prepare your color images before conversion to black-and-white to gain maximum control.

A Dozen Ways To Convert Color To B&W – And Why You Only Need Two (Coming Soon)
Simplify your workflow.

Lightroom / Camera Raw  – B&W Conversions (Coming Soon)
When global conversions are enough.

Photoshop  – B&W Conversions
When you want to localize conversions.

How To Create The Best Color To B&W Conversion Previews
Exploring your options before you commit to a final solution is time well spent.

Simulating Infrared | .99
Create the look of infrared with Adobe Photoshop (all versions)

Enhancing Local Contrast In B&W Images
The best ways to dodge and burn detailed.

5 Strategies For Adding Color Back Into B&W
Why and how to add color back into black-and-white photographs.

Top 5 Ways To Add Color To Black & White 
By adding color to your black-and-white photos, you can enhance their expressive qualities.

Black & White Signature Styles 
Like so many other artists, you, too, can learn to craft a unique black-and-white look.

5 Photographers With Signature B&W Styles 
Study the masters to find new possibilities in black-and-white photography.

Hand-Coloring B&W Photographs (Coming Soon)
How to achieve complex and convincing effects with this compelling palette.

Why B&W And Color Don’t Mix – In The Same Body Of Work (Coming Soon)
You need a compelling reason to move between these different realities; here are 3 examples.

Epson Driver – Advanced B&W Photo
Use the Epson driver to make the best black-and-white prints.

Watch The Essence Of B&W Mastery


Sign up for Insights for news of new content!

The Caponigros – Two Generations Of Photographers


In this video my father and I share insights into our creative lives and our passion for printing.

View photographs here.

Find quotes here.

Read Q&A here.

Find conversations here.

Learn more in my digital printing workshops.

Why You Need To Understand Color To Get The Best B&W Images


Why do you need to understand color to get the best black-and-white images?
Let me count the reasons.

1          Understand How Flexible The Luminosity Of Saturated Colors During Exposure And Conversion
Understanding how light and/or dark you can make saturated colors will help you pre-visualize the tonal possibilities within an image before exposure. When post-processing, while you’re converting color images to black-and-white, I recommend you make all of these ideas visible realities, making many different black and white versions and comparing them side-by-side. At the same time, you need to understand how neutral and near neutral colors do not offer the same flexibility, which will improve both your vision and your efficiency.

Insights Members can login to read the full article.
or Sign up

The Problems With Calling Them B&W Photographs

Suffusion VIII
You may not think there’s a problem. You may think you know the difference. It’s obvious right? But is it? Do you? After a lifetime spent in the arts, I find photographers’ ability to describe color woefully limited, and this is never truer than when describing “black-and-white” images.

Most antique processes are black and white, right? Certainly, silver gelatin is black and white. But what if you tone it? Is a platinum print black and white or brown and white? Is a cyanotype black and white or blue and white? What about hand-tinted photographs? They were black and white but then they became colorful again, but it’s a different kind of color, isn’t it? And if only a little color is added is it still black and white? At what point does an image become black and white?

The problem is that having only two terms – color and black and white – for a wide array of color palettes limits not only our communication but more importantly our perception and thinking.

Insights Members can login to read the full article.
or Sign up

Why Black & White And Color Images Don’t Mix

Revelation XXVI


Can you effectively present a project or body of work that contains both black-and-white and color images? It rarely works, but in rare cases it can.

The problem is that color and black-and-white images appear to be from different times or even different worlds and sometimes both. They’re so different from one another that presenting them together breaks the continuity of the larger story being told (Even a collection of separate poems creates a larger story, albeit with a much looser narrative and context than an essay.) and it undermines the suspension of disbelief required to imagine that a small two-dimensional image accurately represents our much larger three-dimensional world. Viewers end up paying more attention to the way the images are presented and our attention is deflected away from their content. We spend time and effort trying to figure out a pattern between images that are color and images that are black-and-white and the reasons why they’re different from one another, which is wasted if there aren’t any. “It looks better.” isn’t a strong enough reason to break continuity and suspension of disbelief. If there is no reason that contributes to the content of the series, then it’s a few small wins for individuals but a big loss for the team, and we leave the work feeling confused and frustrated. (“I don’t get. Is it me?”) For these reasons it’s best not to mix color and black-and-white images. Instead, present them separately.


Insights Members can login to read the full article.
or Sign up