Effective and pleasing black and white photography relies mainly on form, lines, texture, tonality, contrast and composition. The lack of flashy colors that might otherwise have drawn the viewers in would need to be compensated with the photographer’s composition. Generally, mastering black and white photography is a great way to improve as a photographer.
When shooting landscapes, black and white would yield a particularly pleasing effect to the composition. Forms or shapes work well when there are large composition elements in the photo. The viewer would be able to recognize the element in the picture. Mountains are great for this.
Texture is derived by differences in contrast and tonality on a small scale. These differences are then repeated to yield texture. Some textures that might be pleasing are a cat’s fur for instance and more unpleasant ones would be the needles of a cactus.
Lines are important aspects of B&W photography as they lead the eyes of the viewer to move throughout the composition and not get stuck in one single place. A good exercise to practise is to map the movement of your eyes when considering a composition. On a good photo, the eye should be moving a lot.
High contrast B&W tend to yield a harsh effect in the mind of the viewers. While on the other hand, low-contrast images have a soft and mellow appeal.
Tonality is defined by the amount of shades of gray present in the B&W photo. A good black and white photo should generally contain a wide range of grays, black and white colors.