How to shoot in black and white like Robert Doisneau

The 26/08/2020 at 10:31

When we talk about black and white, it is impossible not to think about the mythic clichés of Robert Doisneau.  Here are some advice in order to master black and white photography and to obtain images worthy of The Hôtel de Ville Kiss.


Arm yourself with patience.  What makes the strength of Doisneau’s photographies is his capacity to seize the moment. Do not hesitate to multiply the takes, the result will not be less spontaneous. 


Les cageots de la rue Lepic, Juin 1969, © Robert Doisneau 


Find the right distance. Be close enough to what you want to shoot, but keep your distance enough in order to keep the authentic spirit of the scene and to capture it first hand, like this master of urban portraits; your subject will only be more comfortable. You might want to ask for the approval of the people photographed and after, show them your shots: this is a good way to obtain their trust. 


Le menuisier de la rue Saint Louis en l'Isle, Paris, 1947 © Robert Doisneau


You can slightly cheat if necessary. Did you think that the Hôtel de Ville Kiss was the result of serendipity? Doisneau knew how to provoke luck and staged this passionate kiss. Like him, tackle fate in order to obtain THE photo that you want.


Choose an equipment that is light and discreet, it will help you during your urban photo reportages and will enable you to fade into the background and obtain photos with authentic features. 


Robert Doisneau Au Saint Yves, 1948, © Robert Doisneau


Give emotion to your shots. This is the first secret of art photography. Humour, tenderness or nostalgia, daily life has a lot of potential for great photos. Inspire yourself of what is around you: markets, crowded terraces, lonely wanderers or train platforms… No need to go far to tell a story.


Robert Doisneau - Au bistrot, Paris, 1950 © Robert Doisneau 


Keep the realism of your photos by not retouching too much your photos. You can enhance a little your photos and shot in RAW before using black and white when editing. 


Creating mystery and elegance, developing a photo in black and white will make a statement in your interiors. Inspire yourself from the mythic photographies of Robert Doisneau and choose a print as well as a tailor-made frame for your greatest shots. Follow the advice of the Zeinberg experts, the specialists of online printing in gallery quality.


© 2020 Justine Grosset