Black and white photography is often misunderstood and underused in favour of vibrant colours.
I remember as a beginner, black and white photography didn't enter my head at first. I just wanted everything in colour, and to stand out, and this is often the case with many beginners.
As soon as you embark upon photography, whether it's nature, people, street photography or whatever, you are embarking upon storytelling. Oh yes ....you absolutely are! And the truth is, black and white photography (in my opinion) can often tell a stronger story than colour.
There's a certain dynamic, strength, depth which can be missed if you're relying on the colour version to give that.
There's something about the contrasting dark and light, shadows and highlights that strengthens the story. Black and white can soften what isn't quite there in the colour version, or harden (add a little grit!) what isn't quite there in colour.
Don't be afraid to experiment with black and white as part of your photography development. You'll probably pay more attention because you're less distracted by vibrant colours.
Shoot (and/or edit) in black and white with purpose!
Escaping Photography Mistakes
As you develop as a photographer you'll start to familiarise yourself with the magic of post production. This is where you might start to use black and white as an 'option'. Don't worry, everyone does it at some time or other. You have a photo and you just can't get where you want to with it in edit, so sometimes the safest bet is to just convert it to black and white. This option can save you from having to completely ditch a photo.
In situations like these, black and white may not offer anything more; it may not strengthen the original colour version or tell a greater story. But hey, it gives you something.
When Black and White is Not an Option
Yes I know what I've said above about black and white photography adding dynamic and strength, etc. But there are times when you just shouldn't do it! If the essence of your image is its colours, e.g. flowers, makeup, etc. then black and white will actually take away from they story you're telling, and weaken the image.
So while black and white is definitely your friend, it can also turn against you if you abuse it.... like any friend I guess.
I hope this helps you on your way; enjoy!