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4-H clover 4-H black and white photo challenge

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waterfalls at a park

Embrace winter’s white snow and look at the world in tones with this black and white photography challenge. In this challenge, we encourage you to play with shadows, look at texture, and layer dark and light tones to create stunning black and white photographs. Our goal is to help you feel comfortable turning a color photograph into a black and white image.

Photo submission

  • Take pictures and rename files with your full name and state (i.e. JohnSmith.MN1.jpg, JohnSmith.MN2.jpg, JohnSmith.MN3.jpg). To rename images, please save them to a computer, right click on the image and select rename.
  • Submit up to three jpg or jpeg images to fourhphoto@umn.edu by 11:59 p.m. on March 15, 2021.
  • Submitted photos will be displayed in a slideshow.
  • All participants will have their names entered in a random drawing for prizes.
  • Volunteer photography judges will provide feedback and recognize their top three images with an award.
  • Only black and white images will be accepted for this challenge (no sepia/color/selective color is allowed).

Tips for better black and white photos

  • With mostly white (bright) tones: Over-expose your image slightly. By making it brighter, you’ll see better shadow detail and better contrast in your image.
  • With mostly black (dark) tones: Under-expose your image slightly. By making it darker, you’ll see better highlight detail and better contrast in your image.
  • Focus on shapes and lines. Shadows shine in black and white photographs.
  • Focus on textures. Try a macro image of something with fine detail.
  • Subject matter is open!
  • Try editing your image instead of just adding a filter.
  • If you’re using a cell phone, check out the black and white filter options.

Build your skills with these resources


Open to youth in grades K-13 in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.




You must be enrolled in your state's 4-H program to participate. A photo guide will be sent to registered participants.

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