Black and white images have a charm of their own. Recently their usage in various design forms has been on the rise, especially digital media. They complement the minimalist form of design and provide a passive viewing experience to the user. Often, black and white images are used to draw attention to a specific object or product.
While many may argue that any image can be converted to black and white using the online tools available and even Photoshop. The reality is that there is far more science involved in creating a pixel-perfect black and white image than just adding a filter. From color balance to brightness, contrast, light, shadows, many details need to be worked upon. We have collated some of the most stunning black and white stock photographs to save you this effort, which you can use for free.
Editors Note >>
Not every designer chooses free images because sometimes there could be a lack of quality with things associated with the word free. However, it’s worth mentioning that you can get free images with a trial subscription on some of the large stock suppliers like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock. Head over to these large portals and discover more great black and white images that are top quality for your next design.
One of the best ways to start the list is to take an iconic landmark and see its image in black and white. This image is of the famous San Fransisco Bay. The photograph is taken from a low angle, making the bridge look bigger. The city skyline can be seen in the background, with many tall skyscrapers piercing through the cloudy sky. The flow of the water is also nicely captured. You can use this as a background image whenever you want to visual reference to San Fransisco.
Zebras are naturally black and white-colored. But when they are photographed and that image is edited, their feature can be further enhanced to make them look stunningly beautiful. This image captures a half zebra in its full glory of black and white. There is ample black space on the left which you can use to add a caption or other design element as per the need.
Human portraits can be made to look really powerful by converting them into black and white. This is exactly what the photographer has done with this image. Taking a photograph of a small girl, the photographer has darkened most of the image and added a special glow to the eyes. This renders them fierce, and it seems it is looking right through you. This image can be widely used for a social cause design as the image is powerful.
Usually, the elements of chess come in black and white color. However, the photographer has managed to augment this chess feature through this stunning photograph. The entire chessboard is well set, each piece in its position with the game about to begin. The background is darkened, and the only light is needed to glow the chessboard. While this image can be used for chess-related designs, it can also be used for corporate and strategy-related designs.
Mesmerizing! One cannot just stop looking at this image. The photographer has done a brilliant job capturing this in-camera cheetah look. Then the image is very nicely edited to make it black and white. It does not matter whether the photo was taken in the daytime or nighttime, as the background is made completely dark, and focus is given just on the cheetah’s face, making it look deadly.
Nature is full of patterns. One such example is the patterns in the leaves. Originating from the stem, the veins move out towards the counterpart of the leaves. This detail is very well captured in this photo. Any by converting the photo into black and white, this detail is further enhanced as we can see many strong white lines over the leaf. This image can be used as a good background image or can be used for its pattern.
The list of black and white images will be incomplete if it does not include this stunning image of the city landscape in greyscale. First, the bustling city is captured from the top of a building or a drone. This gives a wider view of the city. Then it is converted into black and white, and hence the structures nicely converge. This image can be easily used as a background image to depict the city or for corporate and management level websites and digital designs.
Moving from the grand city to religion, we have the next photograph in the form of an installation of Jesus’s crucifixion. This is a common installation found in most churches and even homes. But what makes this image unique is how the photographer has used the light and shadows. The background is kept a lot darker, and light is shown upon the main body part. This image can be easily used for church and other related designs.
Often, black and white images are used just for the texture they can provide. This image or a metro roof is one good example of that. It is hard to tell what the image is about by just looking at it. The prominent part is the amazing pattern that has been formed. You can use this image in overlay behind any background to use the texture or pattern for your design.
One of the highly used stock images captures two business partners shaking hands to validate their partnership or signing a deal. The photograph is then converted into black and white, focusing on the handshake. This image is a must-have for all designers as they can use it for any corporate or business-related design.
Beautiful! No wonder the Taj Mahal is part of the seven wonders on Earth. This black and white photo captures the full glory of this architectural marvel. The photo seems to be taken in the early morning time as there is a good amount of fog behind the structure. You can enhance the image and use it for travel-related designs. Another good use can be getting this photo printed and using it for wall hanging.
Computer keyboards are something we use almost every day. Some use it throughout the day but never have we ever got this perception of the keyboard. The photo is taken from a low angle. The laptop seems to be of a Mac and is backlit. This light is well captured in the photograph. This image can be used for computer-related designs or by digital media agencies to depict their work field.
Who does not like symmetry? And for those who are obsessed with perfect symmetry, this photo will come across as a favorite one. The photo captures the ceiling arrangement but in a perfect geometric arrangement. The photo looks too good to be true, but one must credit the photographer for taking such an amazing photo. You can use this image for architecture or interior design-related applications.
While the first chess image was of the entire board, this photo is far more creative. It is a flat top shot of a pawn piece lying flat on a chessboard. The image may seem artificially created, but one look at the light and shadows and expert eyes can validate that this is a photograph. This image can be smartly used to show leadership, management, or strategy-related aspects in design.
A strong white horse grazing around alone in the forest – this image is quite profound. By converting it into black and white, the designer has further made the horse stand out in the backdrop of the forest. You can use this image to showcase the characteristics of the horse. A different approach can be focussing on the horse alone. The image can also be used for nature or travel-related designs.
Watching the Paralympics itself is highly inspirational as people with disabilities overcome them to showcase amazing sports talent. This photo captures one such moment of the Rio 2016 edition. The sprinter is running with prosthetic legs. The photograph is very well taken and makes the moment more inspirational.
This is an outstanding image that uses the light coming from the window very well. A man is standing just facing the window, and the photograph captures his silhouette and the window frame. The image has a lot of creative elements to it and also has a lot of black space. This can be used to add a quote or caption, or other design elements.
Diversity has been a rising trend even in graphic design. As a designer, you now need to ensure that you make your designs as much inclusive as possible. This image of two people of different skin colors and races holding hands to express solidarity is a powerful image. You can apply this image to designs related to the cause of diversity.
19. Long Road Ahead
Landscapes can look picturesque in black and white, as seen in this image. The photograph captures a long stretch of straight road with just one car visible on it. The road is surrounded by mountains making the view scenic. You can take this image, edit it a bit if needed and use it for backgrounds in travel-related designs.
The lion is known as the king of the jungle, and this image tells you why! Credit to the photographer for capturing the lion in such a splendid way. By further converting the image into black and white, the features of the lion are further accentuated. You can show royalty, intensity, leadership, and a lot more other aspects using this image alone.
Nature can be used to convey very powerful messages. For example, this photograph of an old dying tree can be used to indicate the concept of being lonely. But, more important than that, it can be used to raise awareness for global warming or climate change. The image is available for high-resolution download, and given that there is good space on top, the text or design element can be added there.
The bustling life of the city is well captured in this image. The photograph is taken from a low angle, and we can see the buildings running tall. A plane is also seen between the buildings and a few clouds. You can use this image to convey the message of traveling or corporate life. There is plenty of dead space as well at the top, and hence this image can be used for website headers.
The photographer has captured a powerful image through this entire composition. There is a lady underwater. Light is piercing through the water from above while she stays underwater. You can use this image to convey the emotion of being lonely or lost. Mental health-related designs can always use such good-quality stock images.
Gun violence has become a heated topic across the globe and especially in the US, as it witnesses increasing cases of kids misusing guns. This photograph shows a kid pointing a gun at someone. The face of the kid is defocused, but you can see strong emotions on his face and eyes. The focus of the image is on the gun. You can use this image for child-related topics or gun violence.
Time-lapse photographs can look really beautiful if executed in the right manner. The photo here captures the time-lapse of a city. The good part is that because it’s a wide shot of static buildings, it’s the cloud’s motion that is captured. That combined with high-level editing has transformed this image into an amazing creative landscape of a city. You can use this image to depict city life for business or corporate-related designs. It can also be applied for construction or architecture designs.
Finding high-quality black and white images for free can be a challenging task. Hence we have compiled some stunning-looking images for you to use. The good part is that various images from nature, city, patterns, and people have been covered in this list. As all the images mentioned here are free to download and available in high resolutions, it will be a good idea for designers to bookmark this blog post.